Many people are in favor of just about anything that makes life better or easier or has the potential to improve the quality of products. Scientists have been playing with a material known as graphene that has the potential to improve life and the products people use.
Graphene is a considered a wonder material by some scientists. It is a form of carbon that is no thicker than a single atomic layer. This material has unusual electrical properties and is being looked at for touch screens to solar cells and everything in between.
Lately, though, scientist have been experimenting with another favorable aspect of graphene – its strength. Despite its extraordinary thinness, graphene is quite strong. It is so strong that scientist are figuring out ways to incorporate it into ceramic to make it less breakable. Recent studies have shown that the graphene actually causes cracks to spread three-dimensionally, which may dissipate the energy faster and keep the crack from spreading.
A major weakness with graphene, however, is that it disintegrates above 600ºC, which made it impossible to bake into the ceramic because ceramic is baked at 1,000ºC over several hours. Scientists used the electrical conductivity of graphene to flash-heat the combination, only to discover that the ceramic hardened correctly and the graphene didn’t break down. The composite allowed the ceramic to withstand twice as much force as plain ceramic.
This new wonder material could be the next big thing in green energy, mobile displays, and even dishware.