MIT Researchers Are Making Graphene Stronger
Graphene, the world’s strongest material, can be made even stronger by a method invented by a research team at the MIT.
Zhao Qin, CEE research scientist and study co-author, told; “Once we created these 3D structures, we wanted to see what’s the limit—what’s the strongest possible material we can produce. One of our samples has five percent the density of steel, but 10 times the strength.”
Graphene is made of a single layer of tightly packed carbon atoms arranged in two dimensions. In short, it is a thin layer of pure carbon. The bonding of the carbon atoms in a hexagonal honeycomb configuration is responsible for the strength of graphene. The two-dimensional form of graphene is the strongest material discovered up till now. When compared to steel, graphene is ten times stronger that has only 5 percent of steel’s density. Nevertheless, researchers have invented a way to transform this two-dimensional strength into a three-dimensional product of value now.
The head of MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), Markus Buehler, headed the team who made graphene even stronger by compressing and fusing it into a three-dimensional sponge-like configuration. The production process made use of a combination of heat and pressure.
In order to perceive the strength of this new material, have a look at the video below:
As per the MIT report; “The new findings show that the crucial aspect of the new 3-D forms has more to do with their unusual geometrical configuration than with the material itself, which suggests that similar strong, lightweight materials could be made from a variety of materials by creating similar geometric features.”
The three-dimensional graphene resembles to certain corals and microscopic creatures such as diatoms. Both of them have a massive surface area to volume ratio, but are tremendously light owing to their porous structure.
Markus J. Buehler, a materials scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), stated:
“You can replace the material itself with anything. The geometry is the dominant factor. It’s something that has the potential to transfer to many things.”
Limitless potential is displayed by graphene for future application. The capacity and charge time of batteries can be enhanced by it via the development of ‘ultra-fast charging supercapacitors’. Besides, it can also boost the lifespan of batteries, ultimately creating batteries which last forever. All of this conceivable because Graphene can store large amounts of energy with no reduction in storage capacity between charges; which is what occurs with silicone. This will eventually make electric vehicles a more sought out transport solution in addition to allowing electrons to charge up in seconds.
Moreover, graphene can also turn out to be effective for refining the desalination process that separates dissolved salts and other minerals from water. This process can take place with a filtration material made out of a thin layer of graphene called Perforene.