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Graphene: thin as paper, stronger than steel

Use of graphene paper will aid in developing lighter and stronger cars as it's cheaper, consumes less fuel, and emits less pollution. (Photo Courtsey: Daily Mail)

Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney on Friday unveiled a super-material as thin as paper, but stronger than steel.

During the research, the UTS scientists developed an eco-friendly graphene paper, processed and re-shaped from its original form, graphite.

Though the graphene paper is lighter and harder, it is ten times stronger than steel.

Creation of graphene paper
In order to create this eco-friendly product, the scientists initially crushed the raw graphite. The powdered graphite was then purified and filtered with chemicals to convert it into “nano-structured configurations.”

Later, they are amended into sheets as thin as paper.

"Not only is it lighter, stronger, harder and more flexible than steel it is also a recyclable and sustainable manufacturable product that is eco-friendly and cost effective in its use."--Lead Author Ali Reza Ranjbartoreh

“Using a synthesised method and heat treatment, the UTS research team has produced material with extraordinary bending, rigidity and hardness mechanical properties,” stated the report.

At the end, the scientists managed to produce a graphene paper which is six times lighter, five to six times lower density, two times harder with 10 times higher tensile strength, and 13 times higher bending rigidity.

Lead author Ali Reza Ranjbartoreh said, "No one else has used a similar production and heat testing method to find and carry out such exceptional mechanical properties for graphene paper. We are definitely well ahead of other research societies."

"Not only is it lighter, stronger, harder and more flexible than steel it is also a recyclable and sustainable manufacturable product that is eco-friendly and cost effective in its use."

GP to benefit automotive and aviation industries
Contemplating the lighter and harder characteristics of the graphene paper, it will be an advantage for the automotive and aviation industries.

Use of graphene paper will aid in developing lighter and stronger cars as it's cheaper, consumes less fuel, and emits less pollution.

"Large aerospace companies such as Boeing have already started to replace metals with carbon fibres and carbon-based materials, and graphene paper with its incomparable mechanical properties would be the next material for them to explore," said Ranjbartoreh.