Graphene – The material that can repair itself and more!

Yes, you heard me correctly.  Scientists have discovered, among many other amazing characteristics, that this material is able to repair itself with the aid of carbon.

As talked about last year, Graphene is the material of the future. It has been stated that it is the most phenomenal material discovered in science, it is so thin it can be molded into sheets just 1 atom thick, but it is so strong that you can actually pick it up. It possesses the highest density at room temperature, and holds the record for conducting heat. It is also the most impermeable material that not even helium atoms (the smallest atoms known to man) can even fit through.

Now, thanks to a team of researchers at University of Manchester, UK which includes the co-discoverer of grapheme himself, Nobel Prize laureate Konstantin Novoselov, they have found that this material can actually perfectly fill the gaps within its sheets simply by injecting it with pure carbon.

They discovered this when trying to study the effects of adding metal contact strips to the graphene, however, they kept on poking holes, but they noticed that the carbon atoms stuck to the grapheme sheet and not only washed away any other metal molecules but also perfectly aligned in the gaps repairing the grapheme sheets.

That is a pretty amazing piece of material, but that’s not all. Other reports have said that they can use grapheme to desalinate water.  This is much less expensive than the huge desalination plants which costs a lot of money and energy. Thanks to M.I.T. researchers led by Jeffrey Grossman and David Cohen-Tanugi, they are able to do this through reverse osmosis. That means that a graphene membrane would provide well-defined channels that allow water molecules to flow through at lower pressures while blocking salt ions providing drinkable water.

 But if you don’t think that’s not impressive enough, in addition to everything I have just mentioned, grapheme also has the ability to boost artificial photosynthesis. Thanks to the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology,and Ewha Womans University, they have discovered that graphene coupled with a little porphyrin enzyme is highly functional in the visible light spectrum and highly efficient overall, making it the best suited candidate for an artificial photocatalyst found so far resulting in more plants!

This means a lot for the future, there is so many discoveries with this graphene material who knows what else it can provide to pave the way for a more efficient world including telecommunications.


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