We all know that graphene is the strongest material existing on this planet and it is stronger than steel but converting 2-D graphene into 3-D graphene is a major problem because the graphene has the tendency to be in the 2-D state.
Recently, researchers at MIT have proved the above statement wrong by designing a new material that has sponge-like configuration and has 5% of density of steel and is 10 times stronger than it and also it is an ultra light material and researchers predict that it can be used in future in infrastructure and bridges and it can also be used as a substitute in the place of cement and steel.
Origin of graphene
Graphene was first discovered by a physics professor Andrew Geim at the University of Manchester in 2002. He was interested to know about the behaviour of thin layers of carbon. For this, he looked to graphite under the microscope because in graphite, the atom
s are weakly bonded to each other and he peeled the thinner flakes of graphite using a scotch tape until he found a one atom thick layer which is called graphene- the world’s first 2-D material. Under an atomic microscope, it looks like a lattice of hexagons just like the honeycomb. With strong in nature, it is as flexible as rubber and is a good conductor of electricity 1000 times better than copper. Because of these unusual properties, it is called a wonder material.
Structure of graphene
The researchers used computer models to see the conversion of graphene from its 2-D form to 3-D form and they needed the flakes for fusing which was achieved by applying heat and pressure in cycles of hundred until the flakes came in their stable and integrated form and for giving it a definite shape, they looked to different biological materials that include corals and
sea urchins, butterfly wings and some naturally occurring geometric designs and they found a design named gyroid. Gyroid is a structure with a continuous surface and is porous like a sponge and they fused the flakes in the form of gyroid and they found that it was light and strongest material ever found.
Scope of use of graphene
In the present time graphene is expensive and difficult to manufacture than the metals and polymers but in future, it may be possible and it would be a great substitute of steels because it is lighter and stronger than steel and it can be used in engineering, infrastructural industries etc. In the earlier post “Nanotechnology: Bringing Earth In Your Hands”, we have seen nanotechnology in computer science use graphene for making nano chips and microprocessors for devices and also it will reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and will be eco-friendly and also it will help in implementing nanotechnology and it may be the future of engineering and technology.