The carbon-based substance graphene may soon change the way many everyday and high-performance products are manufactured.
The material, which was created in 2004, is stronger than steel but has the flexibility of a credit card. In a New York Times blog, writer Nick Bilton described graphene as the “strongest, thinnest material known to exist.” It can conduct heat and electricity.
Some manufacturers of batteries have already incorporated graphene components — anodes — into their products because they cut the time needed for recharging compared to more commonly used lithium ion models.
It is likely to have an impact on such products as solar panels, pots and pans, dishware, hydrogen-powered cars, soft drink bottles and food containers, airplane components and electronics. It may make it easier to recycle certain items, including mobile phones.
Samsung’s researchers recently uncovered a way to use graphene on a commercial level, meaning that the phones the company produces would be bendable, foldable, stronger and thinner than ever. The material will prevent spider cracks on touch screens. By replacing certain metal components that are part of display screens, graphene is also likely to make mobile devices easier to recycle.
However, the wider use of graphene in technology and semiconductors may not occur for years largely because it is expensive to produce. Samsung appears to be the early leader in the race to develop the material, but “right now, for them to make one phone from this stuff,” it’s going to be costly, says Jon Myers, CEO and founder of Graphene Technologies, a manufacturer of graphene flakes, fibers and components.I wouldn't bet on that. There are a lot of smart people working on that very problem, and a real breakthrough in large scale production could emerge at any time. But I'm an optimist. To read more, click here.