Monday, June 23, 2014

5 Applications For Graphene, The 'Wonder Material,' That Could Change The Way We Live

5 Applications For Graphene, The 'Wonder Material,' That Could Change The Way We Live

The "super material" isn't ready yet, but it's going to make future technologies so awesome.
Graphene, the pure carbon material that's just one atom thick and nearly transparent when laid out in sheets, manages to be roughly 200 times stronger than steel, even though it's 60,000 times thinner than Saran Wrap .
Graphene is also an excellent conductor of energy, can be synthesized from unique carbon sources — anything from pencil lead to  Girl Scout cookies  — and it has thousands of possible applications.
Graphene still has a long way to go before it reaches commercialization, but when you consider what could be made possible by this unusual form of carbon, it’s easy to be excited.
Appetizing Applications:

1. Batteries. Probably the biggest issue with most mobile devices is that they constantly need to be recharged. But since 2011, when Northwestern University engineers found graphene anodes are better at holding energy than anodes made of graphite — with faster charging up to 10x — researchers have been hard at work experimenting with graphene compounds that can be scalable, cost-efficient, but most of all, powerful.
Last May, Rice University researchers found  that graphene mixed with vanadium oxide (a relatively inexpensive solution) can create battery cathodes that recharge in 20 seconds and retain more than 90% of their capacity, even after 1,000 cycles of use.
2. Computer circuits:
Last year, MIT and Harvard engineers successfully used DNA templates to pattern graphene into nanoscale structures that could eventually be fashioned into electronic circuits, although the researchers still need to improve the overall precision of the process before it can replace silicon in computer chips.
The methodologies are still experimental and expensive, but the potential for graphene-based electronics, considering the upsides of the material, is simply too good to ignore.
3. Smartphones:
Between batteries and computer chips, it’s possible graphene will be the chief material used to compose the smartphones of the future.
It could even be used for unbreakable smartphones, where users can soon twist and bend their phones at will since graphene can be used to create a rigid metal housing but also allow for a flexibility, even in the touch-screen display .
4. Energy cells:
 Graphene could help us har ness energy like never before. Batteries for phones and smartwatches are one thing, but solar and electric power could stand to benefit tremendously from the material, as well.
Last year, the Michigan Technological University found graphene could power solar cells by replacing platinum, which is a key ingredient in solar cells but a highly expensive one at $1,500 an ounce. Thanks to its molecular structure, graphene has the conductivity and catalytic activity needed to harness and convert the energy of the sun without losing any efficiency of its own.
5. Living tissue applications:
 A March 2012 issue of Nature predicted graphene could be used to create bionic implants, but more recently, the University of Manchester’s Aravind Vijaraghavan said graphene could interact with one’s biological systems  — or “talk with one’s cells,” as he put it — which could eventually take the Internet of Things to new heights. Graphene isn't the material doing the actual talking; the graphene simply lies beneath the synthetic phospholipid layers that do all the work, but does showcase the versatility of graphene and its ability to play nice with our own biological systems.
Besides consumer electronics , the range of applications for graphene is practically endless. Since graphene’s properties are only exploited when the material is combined with other elements like gases, metals, and other sources of carbon, researchers are experimenting with graphene to create antennas, saltwater filters, windows, paint, airplane wings, tennis rackets, DNA-sequencing devices, tires, ink, and so much more. 
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article taken from Yahoo! (original link)

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