Graphene is a material discovered in the year 2004 by physicists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov in the University of Manchester, UK. The discover was so great that these guys won the 2010 Novel Prize in physics and the UK Government announced the investment of more than 20 million pounds to research and bring the use of Graphene to daily life.
A little bit of technical specs
The material is a one-atom thick layer of carbon arranged in a honeycomb lattice. When millions of these are stacked one on top of another they form graphite – a mineral consisting of carbon which is found in pencils. Is the first two-dimensional material ever to be discover and at just 0.33 manometers high, the thinnest ever observed.
Super Fast: Graphene is an excellent thermal and electric conductor, better than copper and up 1000 times more conductive than silicon.
Super Strong: Its harder than diamond, around 100 times stronger than steel and can stretch up to 20% of its original length.
High Visibility: Its unique electrical properties mean it absorbs a high percentage (2.3%) of light, which means that despite being only one-atom thick, it is still visible to the naked eye.
Impermeable: Graphene is the most impermeable material ever discovered.
Why is graphene so important and how we use it in everyday life
Real life applications
– Super capacitors and fast charging: Because of its properties it would allow to plug your phone and charge it in just some seconds. Imagine this application for transforming standard batteries into super capacitors for example in cars, you could be driving nonstop with “hot zones” where the car would automatically be re-charged on the road without even stopping yes, like a video game. 🙂 I think this is one of the most important implementations of the new material. Nowadays we have so many devices that need to be charged that this will not only help to save time charging them, but also to the earth as less use of batteries with result in less contamination. Also as graphene is carbon based it could be eventually discarded with the kitchen compost 🙂
– Super Filter: Because of its properties of impermeability it could be a filter for sea water. Developing it correctly with tiny holes just big enough to let the water through and leaving the salt out, this will result in safe consumable water. Imaging if we solve the problem of lack of water in the world thanks to graphene?
– Electronics: Imagine a phone or any type of gadget with graphene, this material is so strong that you would never worry again about scratching the phone or shatter the glass surface of your iPhone.
When do you think Apple will produce the first graphene powered iPhone? Maybe we can see the “iPhone G” in a couple of months? years?