Science

Published on February 20th, 2017 | by Guest

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The Lowdown on Graphene [Infographic]

Working in tech, you’ve probably heard more than a whisper of the 21st century’s new(ish) wonder material: graphene. First extracted from graphite in 2004, the super-fine material (at one atom thick, it’s considered to be two-dimensional) is taking a while to come into mainstream use while researchers figure out more about what it can do, and industrialists put their engineers to work on a cheaper way to produce it at high volumes. But there are few areas in technology that will go untouched by the graphene revolution sooner or later, so it pays to stay informed – and to allow yourself to consider how this amazing material might change the way you do things in the forthcoming decades.

If you’re working in the environmental sector, for example, you’ll be pleased to know that graphene offers a host of potential solutions to ongoing issues. Some of these are applicable to those who are concerned with direct environmental applications: for example, graphene oxide is touted as being able to form an efficient water-purifying membrane, while the sensitive responsiveness of the material means it could be used to help farmers detect harmful gases in the atmosphere around their crops.

More broadly, graphene is likely to be a huge player in the move to sustainable energy, as it is (potentially) plentiful, highly conductive, flexible and strong. It could be used to store solar and wind power, but also to convert vehicular engine heat into electricity. Its enormous strength (300 times that of steel) makes it ideal for car and aeroplane chassis, which will make the vehicles much lighter and more fuel-efficient.

Whatever area you specialize in, it’s vital to be part of the conversation as graphene makes its way to the heart of what we do. For a quick primer, check out this new infographic from 911 Metallurgist – and start cooking up ideas of how you might use graphene to change your industry.

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