The method uses graphite to produce individual graphene-based sheets with exceptional physical, chemical and barrier properties that could be mixed into materials such as polymers, glasses and ceramics.
The Northwestern team, led by materials scientist and physical chemist Rod Ruoff and composed of chemists, physicists and engineers, reports the results of their research in the July 20 issue of the journal Nature.
"This research provides a basis for developing a new class of composite materials for many applications, through tuning of their electrical and thermal conductivity, their mechanical stiffness, toughness and strength, and their permeability to flow various gases through them," said Ruoff, professor of mechanical engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. "We believe that manipulating the chemical and physical properties of individual graphene-based sheets and effectively mixing them into other materials will lead to discoveries of new materials in the future."
The Northwestern team's approach to its challenge was based on chemically treating and thereby "exfoliating" graphite to individual layers. Graphite is a layered material of carbon with strong chemical bonds in the layers but with moderately weak bonds between the layers. The properties of the individual layers have been expected to be exceptional because the "in-plane" properties of graphite itself are exceptional, but until now it was not possible to extract such individual layers and to embed them as a filler material in materials such as polymers, and particularly not by a scalable route that could afford large quantities.
There are approximately one million metric tons of graphite sold annually around the world, and there are roughly 800 million metric tons of untapped natural graphite that could be mined and used in the future, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Graphite is used in a wide variety of applications such as those related to friction (brake linings are one example), in gaskets, as a lubricant, and as an electrode material in the making of steel.
Megan Fellman | EurekAlert!
Physics, photosynthesis and solar cells
01.12.2016 | University of California - Riverside
New process produces hydrogen at much lower temperature
01.12.2016 | Waseda University
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
05.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
05.12.2016 | Life Sciences