Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney have created a new material that is lighter, less dense, harder, and stronger than steel. But this material isn't one of those breakthroughs that only sounds good on paper. It is paper, and it could be a game-changer for materials science if it can live up to researchers' hopes.
This graphene paper is constructed of graphite reformed by chemical processes into monolayer hexagonal carbon lattices stacked as thin as a sheet of paper, and it is remarkably strong. To quote a press release from UTS:
Compared to steel, the prepared GP is six times lighter, five to six times lower density, two times harder with 10 times higher tensile strength and 13 times higher bending rigidity.
That's no incremental improvement on the qualities of steel, but a huge leap forward in terms of overall material strength (plus, like paper, it is flexible). And because it is graphene, it is also imbued with some interesting electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties.
But perhaps best of all, graphene paper not outrageously difficult or expensive to manufacture, and as such it could have huge implications for the aviation and automotive industries, where manufacturers have already been turning to composites and carbon fiber materials to cut weight and thus increase fuel economies.
Where can I get it or how can I make it
Anyone else thinking this would be great for Hyper-Cars??
When we were kids, we imagined flying inside the paper airplanes we made. Now, we may some day actually be flying in airplanes made of paper.
It definitely sounds too good to be true. If it is true, this team will be up for a Nobel prize!
Hopefully it can be blow molded or injection molded. Let the new age of material science begin.
This would be great if u stacked this up and made armor for soldiers, if it is as light as they say then using cheap armor plates would be feasible and would stop enemy bullets, pack enough of this stuff together and you have a very strong body armor
If something as revolutionary as electricity were invented and posted here on PopSci first, the first comment it would receive would be, "first". That's awesome
I'm not trying to be gross or anything, but they were saying a while back that atoms of helium couldn't even get through.
So if this stuff can really be made THAT thin and be that strong of a barrier, this material would be a perfect replacement for latex condoms.
First, body armor and nano suits, IMMEDIATELY!!!
Second, space craft. Graphene produces a unique magnetic field when compressed, so coat a ship hull with it or construct a ship hull with, run a current through it and compress it. BOOM! You should generate a field that allows you to conduct dark matter over the surface like flagella in water because dark matter is just a dense liquid that everything in the universe is already swimming in. Once we learn to resist dark matter and slide through with less drag, the stars are ours and graphene is the key...
wow i hope this is for real and becomes more common. lightweight material like this will help in costs and movement. steel and aluminum will be replaced in no time.
Discoveries like these only come around once a decade. This is awesome stuff.
Will it be cheap enough though really to be useable? I have my doubts but it surely would be nice since it won't RUST!!
Imagine cars with lifetime warranties against rust.
but not simply our lifetimes--the lifetime of the earth!
At last! A condom that won't break!
How would somebody post on here if electricity had just been invented?
Uhhh so that looks like it's as limp as a disk of paper. Is it actually stronger or like stronger on a molecular scale? Show me a vid of it being handled and tested and i'll believe it.
sweet, now we can make helium balloons that don't pop outside of are Atmosphere because its rubber and we could send stuff to space for mere dollars,.....maybe
find articles for a one week period on this site, Mon-sun. if we utilized every invention/discovery in that one week, and integrated it to its fullest potential in one year, the world would be completly different, unlimited energy, electric cars with 200+hp, homes for everyone, in which you would never have to pay for any utilities, world hunger cured, perfect health for everyone, travel to mars on a weekly basis, and maybe beyond, world security, no more terrorists, or WMD's. why aren't we living in this new world?
First application I would want to see is body armor for the troops. Even the Kevlar/Wool weave vests are still cumbersome as hell. They state mechanical properties as well... If it creates mechanical force under current like this story hints at, You could be looking at hundreds of thousands of possible applications for this. I want in!
One word: dirigibles.
@lanredneck That is a good question, but I think it has to do a little with reporting and our misunderstanding of the results the researchers have found. A lot of times researchers will discover something really cool, but in order to report it to the public, popsci (or any other science outlet) will have to make it interesting, so they will extrapolate the findings out to the fullest.
For example I will take this article. The researchers have demonstrated, on a small scale, that graphene can be used to create this new very strong material, so the first thing we jumps to is "we can make super light planes! space travel! body armor!". These things may be true and it is exciting, but we have to understand there are TONS of obstacles in the way before all of that becomes feasible. Also, if in the future this finding becomes not feasible for some reason (cost, doesn't work at large scale, or some other unknown reason), I'm pretty sure we won't see an article explaining why this idea didn't work.
Now we should be really excited, this is good news and is cool science, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. It will probably be a while (but hopefully not that long!) before I'm flying across the country in my graphene plated airplane.
...Stronger bags at convenience stores please.
YES!!! I'm one step closer to having my very own crysis 2 nanosuit!
So cool. This can be used in so many ways. If it really is cheap to produce imagine all the things this material can be used to construct or incorporate into making newer stronger things.
What about nano-batteries. Could this be used to help create new and more powerful nano batteries as well?
Wow...if we humans can stay alive long enough, we just might actually see ourselves traveling among the stars sooner rather than later. Love it!
Oh and one last thing! That means it'll be easier to build airships! Cheaper and stronger! I am so excited!
Oh yeah and one other thing. Isn't one of the issues regarding solar cells producing electricity in an efficient manner really hurting the industry? What might this material mean for the creation of not only cheaper solar cells(which are silicon based) but more efficient solar cells that produce even more energy?
Is anyone doing any research in this area using graphene paper?
BTW All4it, the guys that figured out how to make this did win the Noble Prize in Physics.
This is definitely really cool and I don't want to rain on anybody's parade, but nobody has asked if this is recyclable yet... With all these materials we are creating, we should keep in mind the other possible effects to our environment. Look at styrofoam as a perfect example.
But still, really cool and definitely want to see what this is capable of.
new? damn, i heard about this last year. on a nova spicel, "Making Stuff", saw this and was told it conducted electricity and couased no resistance due to the atom thickness.
a simple way to make graphene is make a mark on a piece of tape and push the tape together and pull it apart a few (hundred) times.
Rockets have what's called a mass ratio. It's the mass of the rocket plus the fuel divided by the mass of the rocket. The higher the ratio, the faster the rocket goes. Obviously, if the mass of the rocket becomes less, the mass ratio goes up proportionally.
This material would make it possible for single-stage rockets to fly into orbit and back with conventional rocket fuels. And not large amounts either. Without the need to shed engines and tanks with every mission, space shuttles could ascend into orbit for the cost of fuel, which would be about the same per passenger as a commercial jet's in an around-the-world trip.
We're talking about the possibility of trips to the Space Station becoming cheaper than trips around the world. It's not just a game changer, it's a planet-changer.
Sorry everyone, it's been around since at least '07. Don't expect anything exciting any time soon.