Updated: May 7, 2020
A few years back, everyone was talking about how Graphene is going to revolutionize multiple industries & change our lives forever. Today, that hype seems to be pretty much neutralized. So, you may think that the the hope for Graphene revolution is doomed. But, we're already on the level one of it.
What Is Graphene?
Graphene is a form of Carbon where the atoms are arranged in a 2D Hexagonal Lattice. Think of it as multiple hexagons connected together where, each connection point is an carbon atom.
The above picture is just for giving you an idea how the structure may look. It's literally a single atomic layer structure & it is at the core of multiple carbon applications like Carbon nanotubes, Charcoal & most importantly Graphite. You may be surprised to know that, a single atomic layer of Graphene is strong enough to lift things like a Basketball or a Football (Soccer Ball) or stuff like that. Also, Graphene is extremely light-weight.
Earlier Graphene was harvested from a special type of Graphite using a special type of sticky tape. The tape was stuck to a piece of Graphite & then pulled off. Now the pulled off tape has micro & nano fragments of Graphene stuck to it. The tape & the glue were then dissolved, leaving pure Graphene behind. That process did work but, it was pretty slow. Now, with improved technology, companies are producing Graphene faster in large quantities.
What Makes Graphene So Special?
I've already mentioned that Graphene is super strong & light-weight but, that is just one of it's properties. Graphene is also an amazing conductor of electricity. So, how exactly does that help? Well, that means we have a ton of use cases for it.
Graphene is already being used to make other materials stronger & more durable. It's actually used in limited areas right now but, it's usage is expanding. The possibilities are amazing though.
Graphene can be used to make wearable electronics which can be washed & folded without damaging its circuitry. The circuit can literally be printed on the cloth using ink that is developed with Graphene.
Graphene can be used to make things more resistant against heat. This is already being done for certain products.
Scientists are trying to make Graphene based batteries & circuits that can replace the currently available Lithium based batteries & regular circuits in the future. This can result in super thin smartphones, tablets & laptops with multiple times of the battery life we get today. Similarly, Graphene based batteries can make Electric Cars have longer battery life & make them weight less too. Lithium Batteries also leak & often catch fire which won't happen in Graphene based batteries.
Graphene can make everyday electronics way more accessible & cost effective once, we find a mass production method to harvest it in massive quantities.
The above points are some of the highlights on what might be possible in the near future. There are way more possibilities. In short, Graphene may truly be that material that'll change how we live today.
The Graphene Revolution Isn't Dead But Is In Progress
So, going back to where we started the conversation, the hype for Graphene has definitely gone downwards & that made many people think that Graphene is a dead end. But, that's not true at all. Changing mass production methods in working industries isn't easy. Specially when you're trying to replace easily available options with Graphene which isn't ready for huge mass productions just yet. But, multiple scientists & companies are already working on Graphene based technologies & they're improving every day. So, it may take some more time to deliver the Graphene based promises but, they're already in motion & hopefully soon be reality too.
How cool it would be if you can draw a circuit that actually works with a pen or having a smartphone that is thin as a coin and has a monstrous battery life? Well, that's what Graphene is promising & as we keep progressing on it, we are getting close to the future everyday.