Graphene Is Also Super Strong
When I wrote about graphene when it was discovered four years ago (see Graphene - Nanofabric One Atom Thick), I thought it was a pretty good match for Roger Zelazny's Gauzy, a tent made from a fabric just one molecule thick.
It gets better.
Changgu Lee and Xiaoding Wei at Columbia University, New York, took flakes of graphene 10 to 20 micrometers in diameter, and laid them on top of a silicon wafer with tiny holes. Then, they tried punching holes in graphene with the diamond tip of an atomic force microscope.
They found that graphene has a breaking strength of 55 newtons per meter. This makes graphene one of the strongest materials ever measured in the laboratory.
Tim Booth and Peter Blake at the University of Manchester, UK, have been doing their own research, aimed at creating larger amounts of graphene, and bringing it out of the laboratory.
According to Booth:
"However, it is likely the most interesting applications will result from a unique combination of graphene's properties: transparency, electronic structure, stiffness, thermal conductivity," he says. "That could help achieve science-fiction applications."
One day, I'll have my Gauzy. And then some.
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