Graphene body armor

I love graphene…this is truly a super material and I can’t wait until production methods are able to mass product it!  The latest potential application is in the construction of body armor, where it’s shown to have 8-10 times the stopping power of steel.  Pretty cool for just plain carbon!  Add this to graphene’s already impressive resume of, among other things, transparency, flexible, strong, able to create super-batteries, highly electrically conductive, etc.  Cool stuff (you can read more about the body armor study here).

Speaking of graphene, though…I was disappointed to see my daughter’s third grade spelling test recently.  One of the words was ‘grapheme‘…which I had to Google to find out what it was (it’s the smallest semantically distinguishing unit in a written language).  What a completely useless word that the kids will quickly forget.  The same spelling challenge could have been taught by asking them to spell graphene instead…and THAT is a word that will undoubtedly become as much of a part of their lives as ‘plastic’ is in mine!

Using hemp to make supercapcitors

Scientists have managed to take the inner bark from hemp plants, more of a waste product when hemp is used for clothing or building materials, and processed it into a material that is similar to graphene and can be made into a supercapacitor with similar performance – yet at a fraction of the cost.  Pretty cool application for an impressive plant.  Alta Supercaps is looking into small scale production.  Read more at the BBC.

3D printing with Graphene?

Graphene, a one-atom thick sheet of carbon atoms, is truly a ‘super material’, though one that’s still mostly existing only in labs and not everyday life.  Yet.  American Graphite Technologies is working on extrudable graphene which could then be used in 3D printers to enable new manufacturing possibilities for this fantastic material.  Just how good is it?  Well it conducts electricity well, conducts head extremely well, and is 200 times stronger than steel.  It’s also virtually transparent.  Pretty cool stuff, and regardless of whether they pull off this 3D printing, expect this material to become a part of your life soon.

(via Inhabitat)

There’s a new ‘world’s lightest material’ – graphene aerogel

aerogel_grapheneResearchers have managed to make an aerogel-like material using carbon nanotubes and graphene as the underlying support structure, with the result being an incredible light, elastic, sponge-like material.  With a density of only .16mg/cm^3, it’s incredibly elastic and can absorb 68 times its weight in organic compounds per second (important if, for example, this finds a use in containing oil spills).  Apart from that, I’m not really sure what the possible uses are, but it’s cool to see technology being used to make new materials like this.


Multi-use Titanium Dioxide “wonder material”

scientistScientists at Nanyang Technological University have found that by turning titanium dioxide (TiO2)crystals into nano-fibers, you can then use those fibers to make flexible filter membranes.  Those membranes can be combined with other materials, like copper, zinc, or tin, depending on what you want the final membrane to do.  So, what would you use such a membrane for?  That’s where things get really interesting, and why some are calling this a ‘wonder material’.  Here’s a short list of some of the potential applications:

  • concurrently produce both hydrogen and clean water when exposed to sunlight
  • be made into a low-cost flexible filtration membrane that is anti-fouling
  • desalinate water as a high flux forward osmosis membrane
  • recover energy from waste desalination brine and waste water
  • be made into a low-cost flexible solar cell to generate electricity
  • doubles battery life when used as anode in lithium ion battery
  • kill harmful microbial, leading to new antibacterial bandages

The potential is amazing…read more at:

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