Folding, Cutting and Crumpling Graphene

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Before learning what can be done with graphene, we need to know what can be done to graphene.

(Inside Science) — Graphene has long been touted as the next miracle material. A bulletproof vest thinner than a T-shirt? Graphene can make that happen. Transparent solar cells that look just like a window? Graphene can do it. An elevator that can take you to outer space? You guessed it — graphene again.

So, where can I buy a bulletproof beanie hat for my son? Unfortunately, the qualities that make graphene such an amazing material also make it hard to work with using traditional manufacturing techniques, which is a big reason why we don’t have these futuristic gadgets yet.

Graphene is flexible and tough, and it can conduct electricity up to a thousand times better than silicon — the ubiquitous ingredient of today’s electronic devices. From a smartphone’s screen to its central processing unit, silicon is what makes electronic parts rigid. In principle, a smartphone made out of graphene components would be tougher, more flexible, faster, and more energy-efficient. While that all sounds very promising, scientists would first need to learn how to build things with graphene.

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Image Credit: Jason7825 via Wikimedia

SOURCE: INSIDE SCIENCE

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