Australian scientists at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, have turned ordinary cooking oil into graphene. This method of production is said to be more cost effective.
Could Graphene be the New Plastic?
Australian scientists at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, have turned ordinary cooking oil into graphene. This method of production is said to be more cost effective. Graphene is a strong carbon material and is just one atom wide. It conducts electricity better than copper and is 200 times stronger than steel. With the current technology, a high-quality graphene film with a 10cm diameter costs up to US $750.
History of Graphene
Millions of ultra-thin layers of graphene stacked together to form graphite commonly found in pencils, was first studied as long ago as 1947
In early 1970s chemists found a way to deposit carbon in graphene monolayers on to other materials.
It was then isolated in 2004 by two researchers at The University of Manchester, Prof Andre Geim and Prof Kostya Novoselov. They won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for their pioneering work.
What are the Applications of Graphene?
Solar Cells: Since Graphene’s layers of electrons require less light energy, solar cells made from Graphene will be much thinner and lighter than those made from Silicon.
Transistors: are a major component in all electronic devices. With the use of Graphene, transistors can be made extremely thin, to few atoms or less. It will also give rise to more efficient flow of electrons.
Transparent screens: Manufacturers of devices like plasma TVs and phones are looking to replace Indium Tin Oxide with Graphene, which will have better conductivity, flexibility, transparency, is non-reflective and will also cost less.
Salt water desalination: Graphene’s carbon structure allows only water to pass through it efficiently, filtering out salt.
Health care: Graphene could also be used in health care, as they could be used for bionic devices in living tissues that could be connected directly to the neurons.
Graphene can also be used as sensors to diagnose disease and for DNA sequencing.
The first man-made plastic was created by Alexander Parkes, who publicly demonstrated it at the 1862 Great International Exhibition, in London. Since then, applications of plastics grew to practically everything, from bags to computers and mobile phones. With the discovery of Graphene, it seems this wonder material will be the new plastics if the new methods of manufacturing bring costs down.
Sources: BBC, graphene.manchester.ac.uk, inventors.about.com