Graphene Characteristics & Applications
IS GRAPHENE ALL THE SAME?
HOW MANY LAYERS?
Researchers have discovered that one to three layers of graphene produce optimal mechanical properties. According to industry standards, materials that are 10 layers or less are considered quality graphene.
WHAT ARE THE DEFECTS?
Defects are holes or tears that decrease the properties of the material by orders of magnitude. Pristine graphene does not possess these defects. Materials like graphene oxide (GO), reduced graphene oxide (rGO), and chemical vapour deposition (CVD) are inherently different manufacturing processes from pristine graphene.
Graphene’s stiffness and tensile strength is similar to other forms of carbon such as diamond (150,000,000 psi). Based on these properties and dimensions, graphene has a strength 100-times that of steel.
Graphene is the most efficient thermal conductor, ten times that of silver
(the most conductive metal), and four times better than diamond (the best-known material prior to graphene). Graphene’s electric conductivity has the lowest resistance at room temperature and has a high electron mobility. Graphene is special because its closest peers in terms of conductivity are precious metals. Graphene’s room temperature carrier density is 1,000,000 times greater than copper, and its electron mobilities are 1,000 times greater than silicon.
Adding small amounts of graphene to other materials can dramatically alter the characteristics of a material. This means that consumer products can be completely transformed by adding a minimal amount of graphene. For a virtually no cost, a materials’ performance can be significantly improved. However, handling the material correctly is the key to achieving optimal performance value.
Graphene is a crystalline allotrope (arrangement) of carbon atoms. Graphene is a single, one-atom layer thick layer of graphite (like pencil lead). Graphite consists of thousands of layers of graphene. Think of graphite as a thick book, then graphene would be just one single page removed from that book. The carbon atoms are arranged like the points of a hexagon. At each corner is a single carbon atom. Using graphene today is like having stainless steel in the bronze age.
IF GRAPHENE WAS DISCOVERED IN 2004, THEN WHY ISN'T IT EVERYWHERE?
It is extremely difficult to make graphene between one and three layers thick. There is currently only one company able to produce 1-3-layer graphene without defects in commercially viable quantities. ACCR can currently produce and sell a graphene nanoplatelet powder that consists of primarily one to three-layer, pristine graphene nanosheets at a commercially viable scale. We can provide more than 120 tons per month.
Prior to now, the cost to produce pristine graphene has made it cost-prohibitive to produce it on a commercial scale. ACCR can now sell graphene at a commercially viable price.
There are companies who claim to produce graphene in commercially viable volumes, but they are selling GO, rGO, or high-layer count graphene that is not as effective. Because of loosely enforced industry standards for graphene, these companies can call their products graphene even though it does not have the same characteristics. The problem is that there are so many companies selling GO or rGO as graphene which is clouding the perception of graphene. Companies are purchasing GO and rGO to put in their products (thinking it is graphene), and they are not seeing the results that graphene researchers are seeing in their labs. Meanwhile, the companies that are using high-quality graphene are seeing amazing results.