Normally when you think of graphite you don’t think of a potentially revolutionary material, but rather the stuff that you write with. Although graphite itself isn’t the star of the show directly but it is indirectly for graphene is made from layer of it. And if you have any doubt about the legitimacy then I’ll have you know that this project/innovation won 2 scientists the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics.
Created by Andre Konstantin Geim a 53 year old father born in Sochi Russia, and Konstantin Sergeevich Novoselov a 37 year old born in Nizhny Tagil, Soviet Union. They
Now the idea of graphene has been floating about ever since around 1987 as it was imagined to be 1 molecule or atom thick. However, due to the technology available, the material was impossible to compose. It wasn’t until 2004 when Andrew and Kostya first actualized the previously impossible material, which eventually led to their 2010 Nobel Prize.
Graphene is a 1 atom thick layer of carbon atoms – diamonds are made of tightly packed carbon atoms – and is very strong and flexible. Upon its invention researchers stated that the material is up to 200x as strong as structural steel. It is so strong a layer as thick as saran wrap (the plastic stuff you wrap foods with before putting them in the fridge) with the pressure of an elephant balancing on a pencil while on the material is only just enough to break through. Or is sum, a 7 ton or a 14,000lbs pencil is only very nearly enough to penetrate/break the material. To get a better understanding of the scale of this, saran wrap is 20x thinner than a human hair. I just wonder how long it will be before somebody builds
So now that we have this revolutionary material at our disposal, now what do we do with it? Even though significant advancements have been contributed the material still is not quite expendable. However it is great potential in many fields but because of its infancy in development not much has been conclusively made from it yet. It does have significant potential in the computer industry and could possibly replace silicon, the material used to ‘print’ electronic circuits onto computer chips and such. Its properties a good movement on electrons as well as being quiet, this could lead to smaller, faster and quieter computer transistors to be developed. Graphene can also be transparent so that it could be used for touchscreens as well as flexible touchscreens, which are obviously a sign of the future right.
Though graphene has not touched our commercial lives yet, it has great potential and will eventually come around to us. Besides that’s how most great inventions and scientific advancements work, they are discovered followed by a large stretch of time when nobody finds a use, followed by a significant invention. Rest assured, whether or not graphene replaces silicon as the material of the generation, it will still help engineers greatly advance technology and is a worthwhile discovery.
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"Engineers Prove Graphene Is the Strongest Material." Engineers Prove Graphene Is the Strongest Material. N.p., 22 July 2008. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <http://phys.org/news135959004.html>.
Gordon, J. "Science Buzz." How Strong Is Graphene? It's, Like, the Strongest. N.p., 22 July 2008. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <http://www.sciencebuzz.org/blog/how-strong-graphene-it-s-strongest>.
"The Nobel Prize in Physics 2010." The Nobel Prize in Physics 2010. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2010/>.