Graphene: The strongest material in the world

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 20:04

Zee Media Bureau

New York: In a step that could transform the way we make and use electronic devices, scientists at the Columbia University have shown that graphene remains the strongest material in the world, even when stitched together in a patchwork.

The new study shows that graphene, even with defects or stitched together from much smaller pieces, still has the strength retaining its mechanical properties. The finding may be a vital step forward in the mass-production of carbon nanotubes that could be used to manufacture flexible electronics technology, ultra-light and strong materials.

“It would take an elephant, balanced on a pencil, to break through a sheet of graphene the thickness of Saran Wrap,” James Hone, leader of the study and Columbia University engineering professor, said in a 2008 report.

The new study has rebuffed the previous idea that graphene needs to be in perfect state in one large piece in order to show this powerful strength. Researchers showed that when smaller fragments of crystalline grains were stitched together to form the graphene, it was almost as strong as the actual solid material.

“Our findings clearly correct the mistaken consensus that grain boundaries of graphene are weak," said Horne in a statement. "This is great news because graphene offers such a plethora of opportunities both for fundamental scientific research and industrial applications.”

Graphene is an allotrope of carbon. Graphene can also be termed as one-atom-thick layer of carbon that is arranged in a honeycomb lattice.



First Published: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 20:04

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