Graphene – discovery to application

Graphene #2_  Graphene #1_


Graphene was discovered in 2004 by two professors at the university of Manchester, Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, and was hailed as the wonder material that would disrupt many industries. The academics, who have since won the Nobel Prize for their work, produced the material during a Friday night experiment by playing around and using Scotch tape to create ultra thin flakes from a lump of graphite. Graphene was soon proved to be the thinnest material known to scientists – just 1 atom thick, and 200 times stronger than steel, super-elastic and excellent heat and electrical conductivity ! A legend was born !

Subsequently there has been a problem in producing the material cost effectively to make it commercial because production techniques are so expensive. There have been some recent developments though, namely CVD (chemical vapour disposition – a process that grows Graphene on a copper substrate which is then dissolved with acid leaving the material). A more cost effective and higher quality variation on CVD uses carbonic acid between the graphene and copper enabling easy delamination, eliminating the post cleaning process using acids. Another is a chemical & substrate free process using a plasma reactor with methane gas – graphene is produced like flakes of snow !

Potential applications: coating on mobile phone batteries, electrodes on flexible solar panels, heat conductors on LED bulbs, fuel cells, water filtration systems …

It’s a shame that such a fantastic material is subservient to market forces and cannot be fully utilised in our world until high cost of production is overcome.

Hope you have a great month

All the best


Quotation corner:

“Life always offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow.”

– Anonymous

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

– Albert Einstein

ps  If you have enjoyed the blog please forward to those who might be interested, many thanks in advance, Mike

About Mike Osborn CEng

A Chartered Engineer and member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers living in the UK with a passion for engineering design, technology and innovation, peppered with a little humour. Presently running a small engineering design & CAD drawing solutions business, serving mainly London and home counties.
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