Have you ever given a second thought to the lowly material inside your pencil? All you might remember is from 6th grade science that it is a part of carbon. Well, now scientists have developed Graphene to become a super material. Graphene really could be the future and include Graphene eye wear and Graphene armour, are all possibilities after this remarkable discovery by scientists. However, you must be wondering what it really is and how it can qualify as a super material that could revolutionize the world like lighter smart phones and bullet proof armour.
What is Graphene?
Graphene is a single layer of graphite. Another example is that it’s the flaky and soft material used in the lead of your pencil that we use for our everyday use. Graphite is an allotrope of the element carbon which means both of them possess carbon atoms, but they are arranged in a different manner which is why they are so different from one another. Diamond is also an allotrope, but it’s the hardest material in the world and nothing can cut it while graphite is soft and flaky. Graphene’s atoms are arranged in a hexagonal manner.
What is interesting is that when a single layer of these molecules of graphite, are isolated, they show some miraculous properties. Despite the fact that it is only one thin layer, it is one of the strongest materials known to man. It has the strength of 130 GPa (gigapascals), which is a 100 times stronger than steel. This shows the immense power this material can hold and how beneficial it can be to us in the future. The fact that it is so powerful and has incredible strength should be enough, yet it is not. There are many other characteristics it holds such as being transparent, flexible, highly conductive and mostly impermeable to most gases and liquids. It seems there is no area that Graphene does not excel in.
The potential applications of Graphene are endless. It can be used in countless products due to its versatility and strength. However, a few of them are listed and explained below. Scientists have considered creating flexible electronics with this amazing material because it is so highly flexible and transparent, and has immense strength that makes it perfect for portable electronics. Our smartphones and tablets could become way more durable and could even be folded like a piece of paper with the help of Graphene. Also, another use could be wearable electronics. With Graphene, these could fit the skin perfectly and could fit any size or shape. Another use for Graphene could be solar cells. As it is highly conductive, it is the perfect material for conduction of solar energy. Its photovoltaic properties will also allow it to develop better sensors for cameras.
All of this however, is in research and theory at the moment, but we never know, we might be using a foldable phone in the very near future.