Ultra-Thin Graphene Can Become Bulletproof and Harder Than Diamonds

Friday, 22 December 2017 - 10:53AM
Technology
Nanotechnology
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Friday, 22 December 2017 - 10:53AM
Ultra-Thin Graphene Can Become Bulletproof and Harder Than Diamonds
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Cover Image: Ella Maru Studio

Graphene, like machine learning or cryptocurrency, is one of those technologies that seems poised to change everything, if only we can get it to work on a larger scale. This has been reinforced by a recent experiment by the City University of New York's Advanced Science Research Center, which found that exactly two thin layers of graphene (which is about a million times thinner than paper) suddenly harden when exposed to significant force. In fact, the incredibly thin graphene sheets become hard enough to stop bullets.

via GIPHY

According to Elisa Riedo, a professor at the Research Center: "Previously, when we tested graphite or a single atomic layer of graphene, we would apply pressure and feel a very soft film. But when the graphite film was exactly two-layers thick, all of a sudden we realized that the material under pressure was becoming extremely hard and as stiff, or stiffer, than bulk diamond."

What's strange about this discovery is that more than one layer of graphene won't exhibit the same hardening properties—only two sheets will work. This bodes well for any organization trying to create bullet-proof graphene layers, but it's still bizarre.

via GIPHY


If you're not familiar with graphene, it's essentially a lattice of carbon atoms arranged in hexagonal patterns, forming a sheet that's so thin that it's considered two-dimensional. Depending on their configuration, carbon atoms can form natural diamonds or soft pencil lead—in fact, drawing on a piece of paper with a pencil will leave behind small amounts of graphene.

The breakthroughs surrounding graphene have come from the ability to create stable graphene lattices that can exist on their own. Now, graphene can be crafted into tubes (also known as carbon nanotubes), which have their own potentially breakthrough uses. Here's a short video that gives an intro to the wonders of graphene:




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Ultra-Thin Graphene Can Become Bulletproof and Harder Than Diamonds
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