Graphene has been known since the mid-1800s, but it could not be produced until the early 2000s. On a Friday night in 2004, scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov managed to capture the first crystals of graphene by using regular scotch tape and a piece of graphite. They were later awarded the Nobel prize in physics for their groundbreaking discovery, and graphene has been praised for its unique combination of properties, and called the supermaterial of the future. But what can graphene actually be used for? The answer is simple, the possibilities are endless. Here are three examples.
1. Rubber Materials
Rubber materials are used in countless applications worldwide, from the largest truck tires to the tiniest gaskets and seals. Consequently, the global annual production of rubbers exceeds several million metric tons. In many of the application areas, rubber materials are the most easily replaced parts. While a car engine is expected to run for several thousand kilometers without damage, the rubber seals are never expected to last as long.This is also the case with tires – no one finds it strange that the tires need replacing more often than the rims. Improving the properties of rubber materials can therefore have significant impact on the service life of all rubber components and enhancing their performance, and graphene can facilitate this improvement. Learn more here.
The demand for energy storage increases as the global population grows, and in order to reach the goal of a fossil-free society, batteries need to become more sustainable and cost-efficient. New applications, such as electric vehicles, require batteries with larger capacities, longer lifetimes and higher efficiencies – and graphene could make that happen. Learn more here.
The history of plastics is long, but it would take until 1907 before the first fully synthetic plastic material was patented. Ever since, plastics has developed and found its way into an infinite range of products. Today it is possible to mix plastic composites with graphene, giving the material new and better properties. Learn more here.