Large- Scale Graphene Production vs. Useful Production

A research team at Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) claim to have created continuous sheets of graphene (1 layer thick) using the CVD process. They also claim to have been able to produce graphene fibers. You can read the research article here.

Though this type of production of graphene is actually not as rare as one might think. The real breakthroughs that graphene investors need to pay attention to is when useful graphene is created in a cost effective manner.

As a reddit user and physics PhD researcher put it:

Large scale graphene production isn’t a brand new breakthrough. Here’s a paper from 2011 describing roll-to-roll graphene production. These giant scale fabrication processes do not build graphene that’s helpful for producing the consumer goods many graphene investors want to see.

That is why researchers are focusing on creating laminates. By stacking graphene and polymer compounds, you get electrical conduction and a strong structure. “Pure” graphene is structurally poor beyond the microscopic level.  Any large sheet of graphene can fold, crinkle, warp, or snap even when handled with utmost care.

So this new technique makes 2×2 in. of squares of graphene laminate, that is pretty massive for the graphene world. It is electrically conductive and very strong. This is  progress toward integration graphene into industrial materials.

The takeaway here is that any company employing or developing graphene technology, does not need to be exclusive to “pure” sheets of graphene product. Graphene composites and graphene polymers still move the graphene industry forward.

 

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