Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Graphene's Adhesion Properties

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Graphene's Adhesion Properties

Article excerpt

Graphene, considered the most exciting new material under study in the world of nanotechnology, just got even more interesting, according to a new study by a group of researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU--Boulder).

According to the CU-Boulder team, the findings--that graphene has surprisingly powerful adhesion qualities--are expected to help guide the development of graphene manufacturing and of graphene-based mechanical devices such as resonators and gas separation membranes. The experiments showed that the extreme flexibility of graphene allows it to conform to the topography of even the smoothest substrates.

Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms chemically bonded in a hexagonal chicken-wire lattice. Its unique atomic structure could someday replace silicon as the basis of electronic devices and integrated circuits because of its remarkable electrical, mechanical, and thermal properties, says Scott Bunch, an assistant professor in the CU--Boulder mechanical engineering department and lead study author.

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A paper on the subject was published online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

"The real excitement for me is the possibility of creating new applications that exploit the remarkable flexibility and adhesive characteristics of graphene and devising unique experiments that can teach us more about the nanoscale properties of this amazing material," Bunch says.

Not only does graphene have the highest electrical and thermal conductivity among all materials known, but this "wonder material" has been shown to be the thinnest, stiffest, and strongest material in the world, and is impermeable to all standard gases. Its newly discovered adhesion properties can now be added to the list of the material's seemingly contradictory qualities, says Bunch.

The CU--Boulder team measured the adhesion energy of graphene sheets--ranging from one to five atomic layers--with a glass substrate, using a pressurized "blister test" to quantify the adhesion between graphene and glass plates. …

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