Graphene Uses – Nanotechnology

Because of the various Graphene uses this graphite material has managed to capture the attention of the world especially those that are interested into anything connected with nanotechnology. Experts in the field of nanotechnology refers to the 20th Century as age of plastics whereas they gladly refer to the 21st Century as the age of graphene. No one can blame scientist if they feel excited about this graphite based material. They have a lot of great reasons to extol the fine virtues of his material form from honeycomb sheets of carbon that is just one atom thick. Thinking about its qualities their excitement is clearly justified. Graphene strength is one of its most dominant feature.

There are other properties that makes graphene stand out to steal the limelight from plastics. Aside from graphene strength, this material is also one of the lightest, thinnest and best conductor of heat and electricity that was discovered. If these fine accolades are to be believe, graphene uses are numerous to count and its applications are astounding which is actually an understatement. In school, students were taught that there are two basic forms of carbon and one of this is allotropes or graphite while the other one is diamond. It is amazing that these two carbon materials are made from a strikingly similar carbon atom. The glaring difference between these two materials is how they are arrange.

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As early as 1947, Canadian physicist Philip Wallace wrote a paper referring to the electronic behavior of graphite. This pique the interest for other man of science until such time as this material was given its name as graphene in 1962 by German chemist Hanns Peter Boehm. It was him who was responsible for naming this material when he spotted this material under this microscope the year before that. These were boosted in the 1980s and 1990s when scientist discovered fullers. This material is graphene but, curled out into balls. At the same time carbon nanotubes were also introduce made from graphene folded into a pipe. The breakthrough came about

When people talk about graphene they often equate these with plastics but it is important to note that not all graphene are created equal. Although carbon is nonmetal one might think that graphene must be like this as well. Contrary to this common belief, graphene behaves more like that of metal which is why graphene semiconductor conducts electricity in a different way than regular metal. This is also why scientist refers to this material as graphene semiconductor or semi metal all because this material is a cross between conductor and insulator.

As an insulator it is commonly compared to the properties found in silicon and germanium. However, one thing is clear this graphite based material is unique in every way. Another fine quality of this material is that graphene can flex without breaking just like rubber. However, the difference is that this might be that malleable but, it is super strong, even stronger than diamond and 200 times stronger than steel.

Graphene Uses

At first researchers don’t know what to do upon learning about the different properties of graphene. They were even puzzled when they learn the various graphene uses. One thing is certain though, that when this material is mixed with other materials such as plastics for example the result would be stronger, tougher yet lighter and thinner plastics. Thinking about the future this means a car that can save energy with super strong qualities since its body panels are reinforced with graphene. This means when graphene capacitor is use and mixed with other materials one of the results is graphene battery. Producing graphene battery, graphene semiconductor, graphene transistor, graphene armor, graphene processor and graphene capacitor are all great graphene uses.

Suffice to say that graphene uses can be divided into different ways. Even if graphene has a lot of excellent properties this does not mean that these properties are needed in the same material and same application. This means the right way to define graphene uses can be about optimizing the things that can be produce out of this material. This material can be developed for structural uses by combining these with composite materials. Another option is to produce extra ordinary electronic components like graphene semiconductor, graphene capacitor, graphene transistor and graphene processor among other uses. While this material can also be a good way to power up energy saving systems.

One can only imagine how using this material can produce solar cells and computer displays. Other graphene uses would be as replacement for existing materials that are poses a challenge to create something smaller such as those found in silicon transistors. The challenge is to create something compact and yet that powerful. Scientist are even thinking of producing transistors using graphene instead of silicon. There is also that exciting prospect of seeing conventional materials transformed into something special all because graphene was use to highlight its strength.
Practical graphene uses would be building lighter but, stronger airplanes because the composite materials were replace. What about powerful transmission equipment like graphene semiconductors? Some experts suggest the use of graphene capacitor that have thinner plates that can be charged in seconds. Some companies are conceptualizing better alternative to ordinary batteries like graphene battery powered devices. The military is even contemplating on building military graphene armor.

The most exciting prospect to date is how this material can be used to produce futuristic unimaginable technologies like building an emergency house with walls made of graphene. This nanotechnology house is strong and light but can be folded later on into something smaller when it is no longer needed like that of a tent. On the practical side how about producing clothes that are super lightweight and can change its color all because it is powered by graphene and program to do that. This can be a nice way to change clothes without literally changing them. Manufacturing these can mean having several colored clothes but, just buying one of these?

The reaction and attitude of people when it comes to graphene is that this material is a clear representation of where this nanotechnology world is heading. One thing is sure this is one of the most exciting time for science and nanotechnology in particular. Those who specialize in graphene often focus on these three key applications for this material and these includes: composites, sensors and energy power generation. These are not the only applications for this material. However, most sectors specialize and concentrate on these areas. Scientist works by identifying the properties of this material and by developing new products with it. The search for new applications and processes that are not yet perfected is still going on. Most research team explores new graphene uses.

Graphene application

Graphene Battery

One of the practical graphene uses for this material is battery. The battery is a result of wrapping a thin sheet of this material around a novel multifunctional sulfur electrode. This is actually a rechargeable battery and not just a battery alone. These improvements came about because of the interconnected graphene network that is capable of high electrical conductivity. This shows that the composite structure of a porous scaffold with these conductive connections is the basic foundation of rechargeable batteries.

The research team that works on these hybrid batteries takes on the challenge to find ways of building protection layers to enhance the performance of these batteries. For the mean time, other scientist are working on a technique that can provide a simple versatile way of producing electrode materials. These deep fried graphene spheres can potentially be use for devices that will improve its energy and power densities. As of this time scientist observe that graphene in electrodes produce thin films that stack together. This reduces the surface area and is the reason why this material is hard to process.

The Korean team produce particles that look similar to pom poms. This structure actually increases the exposed area of the graphene. This helps to open nanochannels that can enhance charge transfers. The deep frying method allows functional nanoparticles to get trapped and form into nanocomposites. This can be used for industrial applications even in bigger amounts later on.

In terms of batteries for electric cars, with the present studies made on graphene supercapacitors it would not take long before developers can mass produce graphene car batteries that will not take long to charge. This battery is the lithium ion graphene version that can store enough energy to give these cars the fuel that it needs for city driving. Car makers in particular are interested in improving the efficiency of these vehicles. By using graphene batteries the car can recover and reuse the energy that it normally wasted when the brakes slows down. Generally, it will take more than a few seconds to recharge the batteries that is using conventional batteries.

With the use of graphene batteries the seconds is enough to keep it recharge. However, supercapacitors like this are not yet ready for long drives. True that these batteries will charge and discharge quickly however, at this time they do not store a lot of energy. The second issue is not about the battery but, about the normal wear and tear effects on a car powered batteries. Clearly, the drawback is when the device can be used for millions of time and will go beyond the car’s lifetime.

Graphene SemiConductor

Graphene surprisingly has unique properties that compliments the next generation electronics. In electronics a very small semiconductor chip serves as its very foundation. With the help of nanotechnology solutions graphene like materials that makes chips so small, yet amazingly fast and highly powered silicon chips. However, this is still at its experimental stage. The problem lies in how to make these nanotech materials behave when constructed in anatomic scale. If they succeed in this experiment this means mobile devices like smartphones, tablets or other forms of electronics can transmit data faster. These devices will be capable to download faster as well in just a matter of a few seconds.

This material has high electrical conductivity and is chemically stable. Being a flexible, easy to fold and easy to stretch material this means graphene is the most ideal substrate to use as stable conductor. This means this material can withstand folding etc. To show how this material works, researchers have even demonstrated the fabrication process where they use graphene circuits based on paper substrates. It is clear that this material can be combined with other forms of material to create a sort of hybrid material that can be use as stable conductor.

Researchers have find a way to produce a composite that can bent and twist without harming the electrical properties. They label this material as the next generation foam for stretchable electronics. These developments are just some of the examples of how this material can be used in the world of semiconductors. Early on in their experiment they found that this material can be used for molecular electronics. They found out that graphene remains conducting electricity even in the threshold of zero carrier concentration levels. This material is capable of doing this because its electrons does not slow down or localize. This means this material continues to conduct electricity. On top of this they found out that these electrons travels faster when compared to other forms of semiconductors.

As these results came about, graphene uses promises to open the way for exploiting more and more of the applications where this material can be use. These applications as of this time affects electronics, fiber optics, bio devices and even sensors. However, a big factor that acts as barrier right now is the issue about the difficultness of producing high quality and large size samples. As of today, only low grade graphene that undergo CVD processes can produce large size samples of this material. In other words, one can get large size graphene however it is of low grade. The other compromise is to be content with smaller size ones however these belong to the finest and highest grade of graphene. To be fair though, even those that undergo CVD processes can be use practically. Unless there is a need for specifically high grade ones, the CVD process graphene is sufficient for the purpose.

Graphene Capacitor

Graphene is said to improve both energy capacity and charge rate in rechargeable graphene battery. On the other hand activated versions of this material can make reproduce a superior supercapacitor to store energy. In terms of energy related areas where graphene can have a direct impact that includes the following: supercapacitor, solar cells, lithium ion batteries and fuel cells catalyst. Scientist however are concern about two things. These are the specific problems that developers and manufacturers have to deal with and they are: prepare well-define structure of graphene nanomaterials and turn the end product of this into practical and functional device that can be used commercially.

A team of researchers have created a supercapacitor film that could replace the need for battery. This might sound like a very tall order however, with the rate that research and development this could happen in the next five years or so. Collaboration between scientists from different research facilities have resulted to a supercapacitor. This material contains two layers of graphene with an electrolyte layer sandwich in the middle. This film is strong, slim and contains a large amount of energy in short amount of time. When translated into practical application this means faster car acceleration rate at a faster charging time.

As of this time the repercussions is that the capacitor will allow charging in minutes not in hours. Vehicles like this needs some push; energy needed for faster acceleration and here is where capacitors come in. It is the hope of this research team that in the future they can produce a car that is capable of running ten times faster. This is because this car will be completely powered by supercapacitors in its body panels.

Carbon can be sourced easily as compared to lithium. This is the same Lithium that can be found in conventional batteries. This is foreseen as a cheaper choice much later on after production of graphene made supercapacitors become widespread. It is a fact that the price of Li-ion remains high.

Graphene Transistor

Graphene has been hailed as fix all amazing material that enables super-fast processors. Unfortunately, this is confined to theories up until, Samsung revealed that they figure out how to extract a single crystal from a large area graphene. This crystal was said to be the semiconductor needed to produce transistors. For those who are familiar with this process, transistors is the step before processors are made. What Samsung research team did was to use a normal silicon wafer with Germanium substrate. They use a dry process that can extract this material from Germanium.

The best graphene transistors are huge fast but, they dissipate energy like there’s no tomorrow. Scientist are said to reach an important breakthrough with graphene. A team of scientist was able to clock a graphene transistor at a cool 427 GHZ. Those who have heard of this think that this was the perfect silicon replacement solution. However, the problem is that it makes it difficult to use in transistors it has no band gap this means electrons can flow freely. By the way band gap is the energy difference between insulating and conducting states.

A transistor on the other hand can switch between these two states. Smart people have find a way to solve the issue since when they use graphene to make it work. The problem is that this switch cannot be turn on and off. The good news is that these scientist have find a way to be able to get graphene work in a transistor. It is not surprising that this transistor outmatches those that were made of silicon. There will come a time according to these experts that tomorrow’s processors will look like they are made from toys.

What they did is to take a standard graphene field effect transistor and find the circumstances in which to demonstrate negative resistance. They dip this in voltage so to make it perform like a switch.

Graphene Armor

Graphene is said to be stronger than steel but aside from this it is now introduce as a bulletproof armor. This time the researchers did test out tiny gold bullets and fired this through sheets of graphene. After this test, they measured the results. The results of the impact of the graphene crack these sheets into cone shape. The solution is solve by using a ceramic plate just by using more graphene. Unlike other materials, since graphene is so thin and light that can basically keep stacking not a problem at all. This material will not produce mass or bulk even when stacked together. This would be a good protection for those who need to fight off stray bullets. This would be an ideal armor for police and those in the military.

However, there is not clear evidence yet, that these methods could provide evidence of this material’s strength if face with high speed projectile bullets. This test is nothing new to researchers in this field however, there is just a few if not one scientist in particular that created a paper about this. According to this scientist the material absorbs kinetic energy. This study reveals that this material surpasses both steel and Kevlar which is well known material when it comes to its use as an armor. However, some of the issues that continues to hound this material is that it is more expensive than current material use for the same purpose. The game plan here is all about energy absorption. It is this strength that scientist relies on to stop bullets better than Kevlar. Supersonic bullets were used to test graphene armor. After several testing, the result shows that graphene wins this round since it was able to dissipate the kinetic energy coming from this micro bullet.

Graphene Processor

IBM, one of the key players in graphene industry has built a chip that is said to be 10,000 faster than the standard CMOS processes. Engineers at IBM Research facility has built a new material that is said to be better than what they have previously graphene ICs. Because of this latest breakthrough, scientist claim that this technology is close than ever before to realize and produce not just a usable computer chip. They claim that this latest development will produce commercially ready computer chip.

IBM has come up with a silicon chip that uses transistor channels made of graphene. This is one of the reasons why this particular computer chip is special. The chip’s main function is quite basic. All that it do is to receive and restore wireless signals in the 4.3GHZ range. To get around at the loss ends of using graphene, IBM build the passive components first, they have deposit the layers of graphene just before the transistors are completed. The result: graphene radio frequency receiver that works minus the weak adhesion and fragile properties of graphene.

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IBM has focused its attention to producing carbon nanotubes which have band gap over graphene. In theory, graphene can operate even in such high frequencies. Anyways, beyond any other material used in RF applications that is. This development came about because silicon at this point without the help of graphene is not capable of advancing any further. The time is ripe for this material to take silicon to another level. Since IBM has come up with carbon nanotubes or CNT they say that they can make this CNT chip ready before 2020. This is basically five years more into the future. With the rate that these researchers are coming up with something new it would not be surprising if this will be release before their deadline. When it comes to chips it is about the size. Engineers were discussing the potential of using graphene for the new breed of transistors however, IBM was one of the very first to put this issue to the test and win. Their research team was able to come up with a tangible product.

The issue here is a matter of making this material attainable commercially and that it would be sold at a much cheaper price. IBM has already made a point of creating processors with approximately 10,000 transistors however, if truth be told they have not reach their target. Those who fund these experiments find old manufacturing tech to come up with new set of chips. If this company cannot make good on their promise, experts say that computer technology growth in terms of research into the coming years would be slow.

Graphene Strength

In the middle of this graphene revolution, the issue is producing large quantities of this stuff that will be enough for commercial applications. As of now what researchers have is either high grade graphene at small quantities or low grade graphene in fairly large quantities. By that time people will be riding space elevators. Because of its strength, scientist say that this material can be made into coatings for satellites and even a great way to protect the International Space Station from micrometeorites showers. The micro bullet hits that it was able to withstand confirms this material’s strength.

In short, graphene has inherent strength. Not only was this material that strong but it is light as well. In terms of area covered and for comparison purpose, graphene can cover 0.77 milligrams per square metre. According to findings, pure graphene can cover an entire football field with just one single gram alone. The recently mentioned measurements are after all in milligrams. These are way tinier than grams after all. This material manages to take people by surprise because aside from this strength, this material has elastic properties. Its strength lies in its capability in retaining its size even when pressure or place in great strain.

The report of graphene being able to withstand extreme firing microscopic bullet projectiles allowed scientist to know how hard this material is in its nano level. This also proves this material’s strength when applied macroscopically. Some scientist uses their method of measuring the strength when provided with a different set of materials. One of the proponents of these research studies has found this material’s ability to be stiff, strong and elastic all at the same time. With these qualities, it is no wonder that this material can be used as body armor or even shield for spacecraft. Generally speaking, tensile stress cannot travel in the speed of sound in terms of the use of materials. Graphene was able to break this when it clock at being faster than the speed of sound in air. The computation made revealed that with the speed that it was heading towards its destination, it stands at 22.2 kilometers per second. No one can beat this material as of this time unless they come up with a material similar to graphene at a short notice or have produce a graphene base material.

In terms of protection, the name of the game is how stress can be equally distributed into a large area to diffuse the impact. In this case the cause of impact was the bullet projectile. People keep extolling one of the virtues of this material which is definitely one if not the strongest material in the world today. Some experts say that this is still true even if there are some things that needs to be perfected as of this time. The good news for those who are supporters of this fine material, when graphene crystal grains are stitched together it will produce remarkable strength that even an elephant cannot beat. The problem is that the graphene that will show these properties is the unflawed variety. This does not contain any imperfections at all. This also means that this specific material is expensive and is difficult to reproduce. Scientist and researchers are still on the process of finding ways on how to lower down the cost of producing a strong material like this without affecting its performance.