The material graphene is a two-dimensional modification of carbon with a thickness of a single atom with a crystal lattice of hexagonal form. Scientists are very interested in this material because it has several properties that make it practically universal and applicable in any committed production. And yet, this material theoretically is the most durable substance in the world.
The materials scientists from rice University in Houston (USA) has found a way to make graphene is significantly stronger than its original state. How? Thanks to the included in the structure of carbon nanotubes. The researchers also reported that been able to achieve in the three-dimensional structures based on graphene strength levels up to 10 times higher than the original figure. The results of the work done, scientists have shared in the journal ACS Nano.
“We have demonstrated the ability to grow graphene with integrated nanotubes. We call this graphene reinforcement. But in contrast to the same reinforcing concrete, where the reinforcement structure use steel rods, reinforcing graphene we use carbon nanotubes,” explains the head of research, James Tour, Professor of materials science and nano-engineering from rice University.
Despite his strength, 100 times the strength of steel, says Professor Tur, structural defects in the joints of the crystal lattice, and its subtlety can reduce samostojnost material. In practice, this means that graphene can not achieve its theoretical maximum strength. However, the integration of carbon nanotubes into the structure of graphene in its manufacturing process allows it to strengthen and decrease the possibility of cracks in its crystal lattice.
The actual production of the reinforcing graphene as follows. First, scientists have created nanotrubki by wrapping the substrate around the copper monatomic layer of carbon, and then began farming around graphene carbon nanotubes created using the process of plasma chemical deposition from the gas phase.
“This has led to the emergence of chemical covalent bonds between grafenauer layer and nanotubes,” says Tour.
From a practical point of view the new process for the production of structurally reinforced graphene does not give the material new properties, but very greatly increases the possibility of its application in the real world, because its actual effectiveness is often limited only to weak links in its structure.
“This is to do with graphene the things that originally, but wasn’t possible due to the potential defects,” says Tour.
In previous tests by scientists from rice University found that the rate of natural samostiynosti of conventional graphene is 4 MPa. Check reinforcement of graphene came in with an average samostojnost at the level of 10.7 MPa. As noted above, the difference becomes even more obvious when you use the created on the basis of three-dimensional graphene structures.
Next, the researchers want to think about how to scale production process, making your opening really practical and applicable in real conditions.
“We want to achieve scalability production to be enhanced graphene it was possible to create in large volumes. It could really change a lot of things. That is what we seek,” added Round.