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A Simple Way To Mass-Produce Graphene With Just Three Ingredients Discovered

First Posted: Jan 26, 2017 02:39 AM EST
Graphene Radical Tennis Racket
Andy Murray of Great Britain during the new Head Graphene Radical tennis racket launch at Queen's Club on Oct. 31, 2013 in London, England.

(Photo : Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

A team of physicists discovered a simple way to mass-produce graphene with just three ingredients. These include the hydrocarbon gas, oxygen and a spark plug.

The invention was led by Chris Sorensen, a distinguished professor of Physics at Cortelyou-Rust University, Arjun Nepal, postdoctoral researcher and instructor of Physics at Kansas State University and Gajendra Prasad Singh, former visiting scientist. Sorensen issued a patent that stated, "Process for the high-yield production of graphene via detonation of carbon-containing material," according to Phys.org.

Professor Sorensen explained that their process has many positive properties, from the economic feasibility, the possibility for large-scale production and the lack of nasty chemicals. He further explained that what might be the best property of all is that the energy required to make a gram of graphene through their process is much less than other processes because all it takes is a single spark.

So, how do they do that? The scientists first fill a chamber with acetylene or ethylene gas and oxygen. Then, they use a vehicle spark plug to generate a contained detonation or ignition. This forms graphene afterward. Prof. Sorensen then concluded that they made graphene by serendipity.

Graphene is an indefinitely big aromatic molecule that is an allotrope of carbon. It is in the form of a two-dimensional, atomic-scale, hexagonal lattice. Graphene is about 200 times sturdier than the strongest steel and conducts heat and electricity very efficiently.

Graphene has various applications that include light-emitting diodes (LED), solar cells, smart windows or phones and touch panels. They could also be used in a wearable device, cell phone and home appliances. Recently, the smartphone products with graphene touch screens and graphene tennis racquets are released in the market.

It is also used now in the fashion industry. Recently, scientists discovered the first dress made with graphene in Manchester. Dr. Paul Wiper, a research associate at Manchester's National Graphene Institute, said that graphene is still very much in its infancy for real-world applications and showcasing its amazing properties through the forum of fashion is very exciting.

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