Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cork the key to unlocking the potential of graphene

Date:
December 4, 2012
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
Scientists have taken inspiration from one of the oldest natural materials, cork, to engineer graphene, which normally exists layers one atom thick, into useful 3D forms for the first time.

Scientists have taken inspiration from one of the oldest natural materials to exploit the extraordinary qualities of graphene, a material set to revolutionise fields from computers and batteries to composite materials.

Related Articles


Published December 4 in Nature Communications, a Monash University study led by Professor Dan Li has established, for the first time, an effective way of forming graphene, which normally exists in very thin layers, into useful three-dimensional forms by mirroring the structure of cork.

Graphene is formed when graphite is broken down into layers one atom thick. In this form, it is very strong, chemically stable and an excellent conductor of electricity. It has a wide range of potential applications, from batteries that are able to recharge in a matter of seconds, to biological tissue scaffolds for use in organ transplant and even regeneration.

Professor Li, from the Department of Materials Engineering, said previous research had focused mainly on the intrinsic properties and applications of the individual sheets, while his team tackled the challenge of engineering the sheets into macroscopically-useable 3D structures.

"When the atomic graphene sheets are assembled together to form 3D structures, they normally end up with porous monoliths that are brittle and perform poorly," Professor Li said.

"It was generally thought to be highly unlikely that graphene could be engineered into a form that was elastic, which means it recovers well from stress or pressure."

The researchers used cork, which is lightweight yet strong, as a model to overcome this challenge.

PhD student, Ling Qiu, also from the Department of Materials Engineering, said modern techniques have allowed scientists to analyse the structure of such materials and replicate nature's efficient design.

"The fibres in cork cell walls are closely packed to maximise strength and individual cells connect in a honeycomb structure which makes the material very elastic," Mr Qiu said.

Using a method called freeze casting, the researchers were able to form chemically modified graphene into a 3D structure that mimicked cork. The graphene blocks produced were lighter than air, able to support over 50,000 times their own weight, good conductors of electricity and highly elastic -- able to recover from over 80 per cent deformation.

"We've been able to effectively preserve the extraordinary qualities of graphene in an elastic 3D form, which paves the way for investigations of new uses of graphene -- from aerospace to tissue engineering," Professor Li said.

"Mimicking the structure of cork has made possible what was thought to be impossible."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Monash University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ling Qiu, Jeffery Z. Liu, Shery L.Y. Chang, Yanzhe Wu, Dan Li. Biomimetic superelastic graphene-based cellular monoliths. Nature Communications, 2012; 3: 1241 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2251

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "Cork the key to unlocking the potential of graphene." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121204112211.htm>.
Monash University. (2012, December 4). Cork the key to unlocking the potential of graphene. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121204112211.htm
Monash University. "Cork the key to unlocking the potential of graphene." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121204112211.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) — A virtual flying enthusiast converts parts of a written-off Airbus aircraft into a working flight simulator in his northern Slovenian home. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Army Completes Ebola Treatment Unit

US Army Completes Ebola Treatment Unit

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 22, 2014) — The US Army of engineers completes Ebola treatment center in Liberia. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins