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In work recently published in the Journal of Applied Physics, a University of Technology Sydney (UTS) team led by professor Guoxiu Wang presented reproducible test results showing that graphene paper has the potential to revolutionize the automotive industry. How? Well, researchers at UTS have milled raw graphite by purifying and filtering it with chemicals to reshape and reform it into graphene nanosheets. We should explain.
By using a proprietary process, the UTS team claims to have made a material that, when compared to steel, is six times lighter, is five to six times less dense, is two times harder and has ten times the tensile strength and 13 times the bending rigidity. Sounds pretty amazing to us.

Lead researcher, Ali Reza Ranjbartoreh, claims that:
The exceptional mechanical properties of synthesized graphene paper render it a promising material for commercial and engineering applications. Not only is it lighter, stronger, harder and more flexible than steel it is also a recyclable and sustainable manufacturable product that is eco-friendly and cost effective in its use.
Furthermore, Ranjbartoreh says the test results show that use of graphene paper in the automotive industry would allow the development of lighter vehicles that consume less fuel, emit lower amounts of CO2 and have reduced operating costs. Given how hard and expensive it is to implement carbon fiber in mass-produced vehicles, we don't expect to see a graphene nanosheet EV any time soon, but we're keeping this tech on our radar.

[Source: University of Technology]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      Roy_H
      • 3 Years Ago
      Like most new tech, it will have to find a market that justifies its high price before it will become mainstream. Better bullet proof vests? Satellites and space stations etc.
      Marcopolo
      • 3 Years Ago
      This research project began as 'Graphene - the new frontier electromaterial for rechargeable lithium batteries and supercapacitors'. The projects completion date was to be 2013, at which time funding was to be reviewed. The research is funded by a grant from the Australian Federal Government funded, Australian Research Council (ARC Discovery Projects). The IP is jointly owned by the UTS and the Australian Government, (although accommodation has been made for Prof Wang and his team, Wang, G., Wexler, D., Calka, A., Liu, F., Zhou, H. ). This is an exciting new development , but like all technologies there is usually a long period between the discovery of the concept and commercialisation. This often leads to strange conspiracy theories. The UTS, has a fascinating history. Unlike Australia's oldest, prestigious, University of Sydney, the UTS began life as the very workingclass, Sydney Mechanics' School . ( Mechanics' Institutes were founded in the mid-nineteenth century by industrial philanthropists to provide adult education, particularly in technical subjects, to working men as a path to self improvement and advancement, instead of gambling and drinking in pubs.(mostly they did both).) In 1878, the NSW State Government took over the institute, and renamed it Sydney Technical College. These 'technical' colleges became the 'second tier' level of Australia's otherwise elitist Tertiary education system. By 1988, the NSW Government renamed the institution, UTS and it gained full accreditation as a multi-discipline University. Rated as 234 in the world's top 500 Universities, the UTS still maintains a very egalitarian, contemporary, and multi-cultural approach to education. Very much in tune with the history, and tempo of the city in whose central CBD the UTS campus is located. Sorry Eric, it would appear to be atheist politicians who funded this research, rather than than any deity!
      Neil Blanchard
      • 3 Years Ago
      It seems graphene has quite varied uses: http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-05-graphene-optical-modulators-ultrafast.html Lighter, stronger, faster, harder -- superlative stuff, really. Neil
      Noz
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's probably also rather brittle and may not perform well under certain compressive regimes. Also, how toxic are the substances used to make this stuff?
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Noz
        From the link provided above: '"Not only is it lighter, stronger, harder and more flexible than steel it is also a recyclable and sustainable manufacturable product that is eco-friendly and cost effective in its use."' In reply to some other comments, although it is true that some advances take years to make it from the lab to production, that is not true of all. The reasons that carbon fibre composites took a long time, for instance, were specific to that product, which had challenges in spinning it and require an awful lot of heat to produce - that is why BMW is producing it in Canada where energy is cheap, not Germany where it is expensive. Since they specifically mention low-cost as an attribute even at this stage, it sounds hopeful that it might translate to extensive use relatively quickly.
        Marcopolo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Noz
        @ Noz, Ever the pessimist! The product is neither brittle nor toxic. In fact it's very recyclable without adding to pollution in any way. The product can be stamped out like steel or bonded like fibreglass, what application did you have in mind? @ David, you are quite right, some products take very little time to reach production. Unfortunately, this is not one of them. The discovery is only an important component in the final product. But hopefully the product can be commercialised very soon. The Swiss are working along the same lines with graphene as part of Zinc-Air batteries and super-capacitors.
      MBCoast
      • 3 Years Ago
      EV's are the very least of what this material could do; just think of the implications to air and space craft! We'll see if it can be mass produced efficiently enough to warrant every day use throughout industry. I hope I'll see it widely used in my lifetime.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      it's 'only' about twice as good as normal carbon fiber or about the same as the high strength types of carbon fiber (6GPa). so it boils down to what price they can make it for. from what I know graphene has the potential to be much stronger still. graphene can interestingly also be highly conductive, better than copper and even silver so it could be used for electric motor winding. research seems to suggest it can handle burst current far beyond that of copper (100x) so could perhaps make way for ridiculously powerful motors.
        Arun Murali
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Its just the first prototype material. Unlike pure graphite counterparts, composites normally can be tuned to get different materials with different properties by changing the process. So it can be made differently for each part of the car and yet be totally carbon. Like you said, the main question is, is it cheap to make these. Though it will be really interesting to see if someone can make prefabricated small motors made of carbon fibers or nano tubes. That will make in wheel motors a reality. Simplifying car drive train designs significantly.
        Roy_H
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Are you sure about the higher conductivity? I read that it is significantly lower, but since it can survive very high temperatures it is capable of carrying more current. Not a good trade-off for most designs like electric motors.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Roy_H
          I've seem it claimed that the resistivity is about 10nanoohmmeter compared to silver's 16 and copper's 17. and then they figure the current bursts it can handle is about 100x that of copper. presumably because of higher temperature tolerance. whether it will ever be practical remains to be seen. maybe superconductivity will overtake it. a superconducting electric motor would be quite something.
      harlanx6
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great news today. They better get with it because there is a huge market for this stuff. Graphene has had my attention for several years.
      Nick
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, you can't build a car with paper. Would they roll it into tubes?
      • 3 Years Ago
      If this breakthrough is anything as extraordinary as they say in this article, then they will probably shelve it just like any other great advanced product to save the Steel industry from going under! ha! That's just the way it is in this insane world where everyone seems to have forgotten there is a God of Love!
        Noz
        • 3 Years Ago
        No they'll use it for military applications and just murder more people with it.
          Marcopolo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Noz
          Bad news Noz! The good news is that for the very first time you right!!! The bad news is,..ah.. you seem to be the target....
          harlanx6
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Noz
          Noz, Noz, Noz, if you have military superiority you don't have to kill people. You are a very negative guy.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sound very promising...
      Ben Crockett
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sound like a significant breakthrough. Good to see an Australian university develop the tech as well.
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