Graphene is well-known for its remarkable electronic, mechanical and thermal properties, but industrial production of high-quality graphene is very challenging. A research team at Delft University of Technology has now developed a mathematical model that can be used to guide the large-scale production of these ultrathin layers of carbon. The findings were published this week in The Journal of Chemical Physics.
“Our model is the first to give a detailed view of what happens at the micro and nanoscale when graphene is produced from plain graphite using energetic fluid mixing,” says Dr. Lorenzo Botto, researcher at the department of Process & Energy at TU Delft. “The model will help the design of large-scale production processes, paving the way for graphene to be incorporated in commercial applications from energy storage devices to biomedicine”.
Graphite and graphene
Graphene can be made from graphite, which is a crystalline form of pure carbon, widely used for example in pencils and lubricants. The layers that make up graphite are called graphene and consists of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal structure. These extremely thin carbon layers possess remarkable electrical, mechanical, optical and thermal properties.
For example, a single layer of graphene is about 100 times stronger than the strongest steel of the same thickness. It conducts heat and electricity extremely efficiently and is nearly transparent. Graphene is also intrinsically very cheap, if scalable methods to produce it in large quantities can be found.
Source: “Researchers at TU Delft develop first model to guide large-scale production of ultrathin graphene”, Webredactie 3ME, Delft University of Technology