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Graphene From The Kitchen Blender — Wonder Material Created With Nothing But Graphite And A Blender

The endlessly hyped, next-generation wonder material graphene can apparently be created using nothing but graphite, water, dishwasing detergent, and a kitchen blender — based on recent findings from researchers at Trinity College Dublin.

The one-atom thick honeycombed sheets of carbon have a great number of potential applications in renewable energy technologies, electronics, the aerospace industry, etc. A cheap means of manufacturing the material would allow such applications to become notably more economical.

Graphene - Credit: nobeatsofierce/Shutterstock.

The conventional methods of manufacturing graphene are generally quite tedious, complex, and/or expensive — which makes the new method based around a normal everyday kitchen blender seem all the more humorous. 🙂

The researchers from the Irish-UK team simply poured graphite powder (think of pencil leads) into a kitchen blender, added water, added dishwashing liquid, and then mixed at high speed. And, viola! Graphene.

BBC Science provides more:

Jonathan Coleman from Trinity College Dublin and colleagues tested out a variety of laboratory mixers as well as kitchen blenders as potential tools for manufacturing the wonder material.

They showed that the shearing force generated by a rapidly rotating tool in solution was sufficiently intense to separate the layers of graphene that make up graphite flakes without damaging their two-dimensional structure.

However, it’s not advisable to try this at home. The precise amount of dishwashing fluid that’s required is dependent on a number of different factors and the black solution containing graphene would need to be separated afterwards. But the researchers said their work “provides a significant step” towards deploying graphene in a variety of commercial applications.

The researchers are now working with the UK-based firm Thomas Swan to scale the process up to the industrial level — with the aim being to build a pilot project that could produce about a kilo of graphene a day by the end of the 2014.

The new findings were just published in the journal Nature Materials. You can find the paper here.

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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