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Graphene 'wonder material'

Jlowe

Here let me wipe my balls off your face.
Jul 10, 2011
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I just came across this on the big old internet and came across a new 'wonder material' called graphene I'm a skeptical myself probably because it seems to good to be true but wondered what some of you guys and gals thought about this.

Here's a link about the material: http://www.graphene.manchester.ac.uk/story/properties/

This is an interesting statement:
'It was found that graphene is harder than diamond and about 300 times harder than steel. To put this into context, it will take the weight of an elephant balanced on a needle-point in order to break this one atom thick fabric! The tensile strength of graphene exceeds 1 TPa.'

can anyone explain how this is possible?
 
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NSKlad

Pistolas y Corazones
Dec 9, 2006
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It mentions bucky-balls on that page - lots of complicated Carbon stuff. (Pretty sure Diamonds are also Carbon)
 

Cook$

Just the tip....
Jul 7, 2001
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Rider could prob shed some light on this.

I would like a bike made from it...

It also mentions carbon nanotubes. Shame they didn't make copper nanotubes, if only for the acronym... (science joke)
 
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May 26, 2011
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. Shame they didn't make copper nanotubes, if only for the acronym... (science joke)
Ha ha.

Its a shame you've significantly narrowed down your audience with that one.

I'm no chemist but Its mainly to do with the arrangement of the atoms. Diamonds are carbon atoms arranged into a giant covalent lattice with each carbon atom making a single carbon carbon bond.

From what i can google on graphene, its molecular structure is a planar lattice (a 2d sheet) consisting of carbon atoms that have 3 bonds with other carbon atoms and the fourth electron is delocalised. The C-C bond is thus shorter than that of the C-C bonds in diamond (0.142 nm as opposed to 0.154 in diamond if you wanted to know). Shorter bonds are harder to break, hence it being a stronger material.

Kevlar is made up of rings of carbon atoms that also have 3 single bonds and one delocalised electron. This is called a benzene ring. Which is partly why it is strong and good at stopping bullets.
 
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Jlowe

Here let me wipe my balls off your face.
Jul 10, 2011
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Sorry about that I'm all up for broadening the audience if you could tell me how i can do that :D

So its strength is essentially down to the one delocalised electron which means shorter bonds to the other electrons.
So where does graphene differ from one slide/layer of graphite if you ignore the delocalised electrons. Does this mean that although it is very strong as a single atom thick sheet you won't be able to effectively layer it to make a materical you can hold/grip as the single electron bond holding layers together would be easily broken.
 

Cook$

Just the tip....
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So, my take on this from the POV of not being a materials scientist, we have a 1 atom thick sheet that will be hugely flexible in one direction but will have good tensile strength. How do we join sheets together, to make it more useful? As there's no free bonds it'd have to be sheets glued together. So maybe rolling into tubes then threaded together would make this more useful?
 
May 26, 2011
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Sorry about that I'm all up for broadening the audience if you could tell me how i can do that :D

So its strength is essentially down to the one delocalised electron which means shorter bonds to the other electrons.
So where does graphene differ from one slide/layer of graphite if you ignore the delocalised electrons. Does this mean that although it is very strong as a single atom thick sheet you won't be able to effectively layer it to make a materical you can hold/grip as the single electron bond holding layers together would be easily broken.
You cant just ignore electrons in chemistry unfortunately. After all there's only a difference of 1 electron between Xenon, a nonreactive gas, and caesium which is a little different.

Once again, purely from looking through the sites google gives me, Graphite is basically composed of several layers (and by several i mean alot) of graphene. These layers are held together by weak intermolecular forces so they slide over each other fairly easily. Hence why graphite is malleable. Because graphene consists of just one atom thick layer, in order to break the layer you'd have to break the intramolecular bonds which requires alot more energy. The delocalized electron from each carbon atom can be used to form new bonds as in fluorographene, where the fourth electron forms a covalent bond with fluorine. As to how sheets could be joined with greater strength than just the weak intermolecular bonds in graphite, I don't know. And @cooks, I also haven't read anything about forming tubes out of graphene but i did read that graphite fibres may be stonger than current carbon fibres, but because of the high production cost of graphene its unlikely to replace them. *Edit* Just read the original web link posted and it appears that carbon nanotubes are just tubes formed out of graphene sheets essentially.
 
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strafingrun

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Apr 2, 2010
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Depressing to see this wicked sick technology with so much untapped potential... with it comes the realisation I’m probable going to live to see the first space elevator start construction but not its completion, I will hate my children because of this.

Unless of course i get lucky and medical science allows me to cheat death.... but again probable a luxury for the next generation.... *******s.
 

dodge-gnome

Save a rock, throw an Ion
Nov 13, 2010
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From what i heard this won't be very applicable as a construction material, due to it's flexible/bendy nature?
Whilst it's incredibly strong, it's not very sturdy, so it seems it would be better suited for kevlar, phones and smaller things which don't need as much structural integrity, but can still take a whallop!...

I might be completely wrong though.