Sydney: A composite material based on paper thin graphite and 10 times stronger than steel is set to revolutionise the automotive, aviation, electrical and optical industries, experts predict.
Graphene paper or GP, developed by Guoxiu Wang`s research team from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), can be processed, reshaped and reformed from its original raw material state.
Compared to steel, the prepared GP is six times lighter, five to six times lower in density, two times harder with 10 times higher tensile strength and 13 times higher bending rigidity, the Journal of Applied Physics reports.
Researchers have successfully milled the raw graphite by purifying and filtering it with chemicals to reshape and reform it into nano-structured configurations which are then processed into sheets as thin as paper, according to a university statement.
Lead researcher Ali Reza Ranjbartoreh said: "Not only is it lighter, stronger, harder and more flexible than steel, it is also a recyclable and sustainably manufacturable product that is eco-friendly and cost effective in its use."
Ranjbartoreh said the results would allow the development of lighter and stronger cars and planes that use less fuel, generate less pollution, are cheaper to run and ecologically sustainable.
He said large aerospace companies such as Boeing have already started to replace metals with carbon fibres and carbon-based materials, and graphene paper with its incomparable mechanical properties would be the next material for them to explore.