In manufacturing self-lubricating components for the tool and die industry, the SelfLube Company uses graphite and graphene in their everyday business. Graphite, which has been used since ancient times, was always thought to be pretty well understood – but the reality is it has always been a strange substance. It is one of the few materials that doesn’t expand when heated or shrink when cooled (i.e., it has zero coefficient of linear expansion). It isn’t a metal, but it conducts electricity like a metal. And, when reduced to a single layer, Graphene, the name given to a single sheet of graphite, turns out to be the strongest material known – 100 times stronger than steel. It is not just a good conductor of electricity; it is the best-known conductor of electricity. And, it is slippery, very slippery.
A new market research report prepared by NanoMarkets and published by Smart Window Markets – 2012 has earmarked carbon nanotubes as the most likely replacement for current smart window technology.
As reported here before, carbon nanotubes have featured in the story of graphene for some time. Essentially a rolled form of graphene, nanotubes are proving to be at the forefront of developments in many different market sectors, with uses as diverse as nanosized needles for medical use to super light but strong windmill blades. In this latest report carbon nanotube and silver nanostructure inks are suggested as a replacement for the currently dominant ITO technology.
It’s been available for several months now but I’m sure the developer of this brilliant app will be happy with a bit of free publicity; iNanotube 1.1 for IOS allows customers to style and create a nanotube (an atomic sized) making use of the app’s easy program. Construction and treatment of these small wires is easily obtained through the touchscreen interface, which allows manipulating a piece of graphene into the form of a nanotube. The app provides immediate online design of the small components, made from the most effective and stiffest material yet found, which are too small to be seen with even the highest resolution microscopes.
Along with partners in the Army and other researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology, Dr. Woo Lee the George Meade Bond Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science in the Schaefer School of Engineering and Science at Stevens is advancing printed electronics through the recent demonstration of a method to inkjet print electrical energy storage devices using graphene. Made of carbon sheets one atom thick, graphene has quickly become a go-to material for the next-generation of nanoscale and microscale devices. Dr. Lee’s team was recognized with the Academic R&D Award at Printed Electronics USA 2011 for combining the potential of graphene with precision inkjet printing technologies.
Medicine is one of the highest achievements of the human species and graphene is about to play its part in the most recent and exciting developments in the discipline; that is in the emerging domain of nanomedicine. Concerns for health and well-being have inspired some of the boldest innovations in history and nanomedicine continues in the great tradition of these pioneering advances. Born of interdisciplinary work in the fields of bioengineering, physics, chemistry and medicine, nanomedicine is increasingly looking to the material properties of graphene to assist in some of its most interesting projects.