MIT researchers have managed to create a form of graphene that is ten times stronger than steel. Moreover, this new material has only five percent of the density of steel which makes it one of the lightest and strongest materials ever known.
The research was published in the Journal Science Advances. It was led by Markus Buehler who decided to study, alongside his colleagues, the individual atoms of the graphene forming geometrical patterns. They realized they didn’t need to change anything in the graphene, but it all lays in the way the material is used
“Once we created these 3D structures, we wanted to see what’s the limit – what’s the strongest possible material we can produce,” said Zhao Qin, one of the study authors.
3D forms of super strong Graphene
The Graphene is an allotrope of carbon, which has a two-dimensional and hexagonal shape, where each atom forms each vertex. It was first observed in 1962 through an electron microscope. It is the primary element used in other allotropes such as graphite, charcoal and carbon nanotubes. It is about 200 times stronger that steel. It is also able to conduct electricity and heat in an efficient way.
Currently, the global market for this material reaches about $9 million, mostly due to the sales of semiconductors, electronics, and batteries. However, this amount could increase in the future given this discovery made by the scientists at the Material scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.
Markus Buehler and other researchers showed how graphene flakes could be arranged to create a new material while addressing some of the weakness of graphene.
According to Buehler, Graphene is the strongest of all materials, but the strength it has in its two-dimensional form couldn’t be taken to 3D forms of Graphene. That is graphene’s biggest problem. Graphene atoms are thick, but instead of changing its properties the scientists came to the conclusion that what matters is how it is used. They made unusual geometric patterns without adding any other property, and so they created a material that is ten times stronger than steel and way lighter than it. This discovery will surely change material science soon.
These new 3D forms were made in a lab using a high-resolution multi-material 3D printer. Scientists tested them to know their tensile and compressive properties.
Recent applications of Graphene
This new geometry applied to graphene can be used on large-scale structural materials. It can be used in structures such as bridges to make them stronger. As well, as the new material features air spaces within it can be applied to ameliorate the insulative properties, or as a part of filtration systems for chemical or water processing.
As well, Researches from the Trinity College Dublin used graphene and Silly Putty to create a super sensitive sensor capable of measuring footsteps from spiders. It is called G-Putty, and it can change the electrical resistance with the slightest pressure. G-putty has a sensitivity level 500 times better than other materials.
Source: Tech Times