Article last updated on: Jul 12, 2020

Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb-like pattern. Graphene is considered to be the world's thinnest, strongest and most conductive material - of both electricity and heat. All of these properties are exciting researchers and businesses around the world - as graphene has the potential to revolutionize entire industries - in the fields of electricity, conductivity, energy generation, batteries, sensors and more.

Mechanical strength

Graphene is the world's strongest material, and can be used to enhance the strength of other materials. Dozens of researchers have demonstrated that adding even a trace amount of graphene to plastics, metals or other materials can make these materials much stronger - or lighter (as you can use a smaller amount of material to achieve the same strength).

applications of composites image

Such graphene-enhanced composite materials can find uses in aerospace, building materials, mobile devices, and many other applications.

Thermal applications

Graphene is the most heat conductive found to date. As graphene is also strong and light, it means that it is a great material for making heat-spreading solutions, such as heat sinks or heat dissipation films. This could be useful in both microelectronics (for example to make LED lighting more efficient and longer lasting) and also in larger applications - for example thermal foils for mobile devices. Huawei's latest smartphones, for example, have adopted graphene-based thermal films.

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Energy storage

Since graphene is the world's thinnest material, it also extremely high surface-area to volume ratio. This makes graphene a very promising material for use in batteries and supercapacitors. Graphene may enable batteries and supercapacitors (and even fuel-cells) that can store more energy - and charge faster, too.

Graphene battery advantages imageThe advantages of graphene batteries

Coatings ,sensors, electronics and more

Graphene has a lot of promise for additional applications: anti-corrosion coatings and paints, efficient and precise sensors, faster and efficient electronics, flexible displays, efficient solar panels, faster DNA sequencing, drug delivery, and more.

Graphene is such a great and basic building block that it seems that any industry can benefit from this new material. Time will tell where graphene will indeed make an impact - or whether other new materials will be more suitable.

The latest Graphene Application news:

Swinburne startup 'SensFit' uses graphene-enhanced shoe sensors to detect health issues

A new Swinburne-led startup, SensFit Technologies, has developed a smart shoe with inbuilt sensors, aiming to improve the quality of life of older people through the early detection of dementia, diabetic ulcers and other physical activity issues.

Swinburne startup uses smart shoe sensors to detect health issues imageUnique sensor technology takes readings from the soles of the shoes. Image from Swinburne website

The unique technology is based on 87 smart sensors bonded with an innovative graphene ink that is embedded in the soles of a shoe. It was developed by startup co-founders Professor Franz Konstantin Fuss, a medical technologies researcher, and Dr. Nishar Hameed, whose research focuses on developing innovative technologies from advanced composite materials.

Trials for use of graphene in road resurfacing begin on A1 in Northumberland

National Highways will trial the use of graphene along three miles of the A1’s northbound carriageway between Newton on the Moor and West Cawledge, Northumberland, UK. If successful, using graphene could make roadworks less frequent and make roads smoother and more reliable.

Graphene used to resurface roads in new trial image

National Highways is carrying out the trials with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at The University of Manchester and Pavement Testing Services (PTS).

G6 Materials reports positive test results on its GO-based air purifier tech

G6 Materials has announced the results of an antimicrobial efficacy test on a prototype of its proprietary graphene-based air purifier, conducted by a US-based microbiological laboratory of The Intertek Group. The test reportedly showed that the concentration of pathogenic microorganisms present in the testing chamber was reduced by 99.9% over the duration of the experiment.

G6 Materials Air Purifier Prototype Reduces Pathogenic Microorganisms image

Two different pathogens were randomly chosen to be tested under each experiment, which were the E. coli bacteria and the Phi-X174 bacteriophage. The duration of the test was set to two hours.

Researchers develop simple method to achieve fine control over the integration of foreign atoms into graphene

Researchers from South Korea invented a simple way to achieve fine control over the integration of foreign atoms with graphene, developing composite graphene-based heterostructures that can be used to store energy at low cost and fabricate ultrathin, wearable electronics.

Adding foreign atoms to graphene boosts its properties ןצשעק

One way to specifically tailor graphene's properties is by integrating other materials into it, such as metals, insulators, and semiconductors, to form composite structures with desirable properties. For instance, researchers are adding metal oxides to graphene to create graphene monolayer/metal-oxide nanostructures (GML/MONSs) that have improved physical and chemical properties. However, depositing uniform layers of metal oxides over graphene without disturbing the characteristics of the graphene layer is extremely challenging.

Researchers experiment with LIG to create improved wearable health devices

A Penn State-led international research team (led by Professor Huanyu “Larry” Cheng at Penn State) recently published two studies that could boost research and development of future motion detection, tactile sensing and health monitoring devices.

Graphene made with lasers for wearable health devices image

There are various substances that can be converted into carbon to create graphene through laser radiation, in a process called laser-induced graphene (LIG). The resulting product can have specific properties determined by the original material. The team set out to test this process and has reached interesting conclusions.