By Kris Walker
Graphene - one atom thick layer of graphite. Image Credit: Photos.com
Graphene is a material that has been around for a number of years however; it is only in the past few years that Graphene has been touted as a ‘wonder material’.
‘Graphene is the future…’
With a range of attractive material properties, such as high strength, thermal and electrical conductivity, the application of Graphene is under consideration in many research labs and board rooms.
Here are five innovations that incorporate graphene, offering a small insight at what this ‘wonder material’ is capable of.
This thin, flexible, material could be used to power homes, buildings as well as charging capabilities for mobile and tablet technology. Image Credit: The University of Manchester
1) Graphene Paint
Scientists from the University of Manchester have been able to combine graphene with the transition metal, dichalcogenides.
A material that is so thin and flexible, it can absorb sunlight which can produce electricity at the same rates of solar panels.
This material doesn’t just potentially have the ability to power homes but also could be incorporated in smartphones and tablets. Imagine a solar powered smartphone? Don’t imagine; it’s already here…
Will smart windows be used in office buildings across the world? Image Credit: Photos.com
2) Smart Windows
Absorbing only 2.3% of light with the ability of being an electrical conductor is always going to be a benefit.
A layer of liquid crystals placed between graphene filled electrodes as well as a transparent polymer, could allow windows to restrict light. A dimmer-switch for natural light.
Lightweight material that could save on fuel. Image Credit: Photos.com
3) Composites – Graphene Plastics
With Graphene being one of the most stiffest, lightweight materials, it is very easy to see how it could be used and combined with plastics.
Graphene can be easily mixed with epoxy that could be used to replace metals within the automotive and aerospace industry. Imagine cars and planes that are more lightweight?
Not only would it be more fuel efficient, for aerospace, the conductiveness of graphene-plastic composites would also help in electrical storms or interference.
Incorporating graphene in bionic limbs. Image Credit: Photos.com
4) Graphene in Living Tissue
Evolutionary research has developed a way of potentially using graphene to connect with neurons in the brain. So, with bionic limbs, this has the potential of allowing people with spinal injuries and missing limbs to learn how to use them again.
Using Graphene in desalination. Image Credit: Photos.com
5) Drinkable Clean Water
Talking about ‘saving the world’, researchers at MIT have developed a graphene filter. This filter would be constructed with tiny holes, which would keep salt out making saltwater drinkable.
By just stating five potential uses of this 'wonder material' doesn't even scratch the surface at the capabilities of graphene.
Could this be a material that could change the way we live? Will there be a time where we will wonder how we ever lived without graphene? One things for sure, graphene is here to stay.
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