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Graphene: Super Material with Unlimited Applications

By Dick Weisinger

Graphene is being heralded as a new wonder material. Graphene was discovered by researchers in the UK in 2004 and resulted in Nobel prizes for the two investigators in 2010. It is a unique two-dimensional material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice, and it’s properties are remarkable.

While weighing just .77 milligrams per square meter it is 200 times stronger than steel, stretchable, and is able to conduct both heat and electricity. When layers of graphene are aligned precisely at a 1.1 Â° angle, graphene has been found to have a number of additional unique properties, such as superconductivity and magneticity.

Graphene has applications in producing cembent, composites, plastics, inks, rubbers, elastomers and foam. Researchers are investigating potential applications in batteries and semiconductors.

A material closely related to graphene is graphyne. The difference is that graphene has a simple honycomb structure while the bonds of graphyne are more complex and can be joined in ways to produce interesting effects.

David Larousserie, science journalist at Le Monde, wrote for the Guardian that “an advantage of graphene is that is opens up paths to other two-dimensional materials as small as atoms. Boron nitride, molybdenum sulphate and tungsten or even 100% silicon sillicene are some of the peculiar sounding names that could become more common. Some isolate, others conduct. Piling up these molecules layer-by-layer would create new materials with new properties. The game is on.”

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