Tuesday, April 04, 2017

 

Graphene and our future


In the midst of our fascination with technology, sometimes we ignore how important materials science is-- that often what we make is dependent on what we make something out of.  

The fascinating material of the moment is Graphene, which was isolated by scientists in 2004. It is just one atom thick, yet remarkable strong. It allows for the manufacture of things that are light, strong, and rigid.  That is an unusual and useful combination of attributes.

It efficiently conducts both electricity and heat, and is almost transparent. Plus, it turns out that it may be able to act as a sieve which can convert seawater into potable water.

And this-- it is essentially a two-dimensional material, because it is so thin. That means that every atom is available for chemical reaction from two sides.  I'm pretty sure that will be useful for something!


Comments:
When I was a freshman chemistry major more than 50 years ago, my interest was in organic (carbon based) acid-base chemistry. The base of this compound is a benzene-like ring, with hybrid bonds between carbon atoms (not single bonds and not double bonds, but something in between). The synthesis of much larger sheets of this material will offer a lot of new technology, perhaps solar energy conversion, molecular level filtering, etc. The environmental implications could be extensive. Thanks for posting this.
 
I wish that I had taken more chemistry!
 
Graphene sounds pretty cool and all, but will it blend ?
 
My go-to guy on all things energy-related is Dr. Michael Webber: http://www.webberenergygroup.com/people/michael-webber/

His book is great, easy for even an English major like myself to understand.
 
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