Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute developed a simple method to determine the strength and stiffness of graphene materials. The researchers published data that enables researchers to correlate the precise strength and stiffness of non-pristine graphene samples to their Raman signatures.

The researchers say that these new results provide a rapid and non-destructive method to determine the strength and stiff of graphene samples - with a high degree of accuracy. The researchers a range of graphene samples - with different densities and defects. They then characterized those samples using Raman spectroscopy. Finally, they used a nanoindentation technique to press sharp diamond tips into the graphene samples, and recorded how the samples stretched and, in some cases, tore.

One of the interesting findings in this research, is the fact that graphene is able to retain its outstanding mechanical properties even after its surface is littered with oxygen atoms (unlike the graphene's electrical and thermal properties that degrade significantly). If the graphene sheet has holes or vacancy defects, however, its strength and stiffness degrade significantly.