There May Be a Future for Carbon After All

Much like carbon-based fuels ignited the industrial revolution and silicon launched the age of computers, graphene may soon usher in the next epoch in human history. Interesting post regarding all the possibilities of using graphene.

 

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There May Be a Future for Carbon After All

There May Be a Future for Carbon After All

No. 6 in the series,

Imagine the possibilities if you discovered:

  • The lightest material known, but 100-300 times stronger than steel;
  • The best conductor of heat at room temperature;
  • A material with unique levels of light absorption; or
  • The best conductor of electricity.

Incredibly, all the above attributes exist in a single material known as graphene—and it just may change what it means to be a carbon-based economy.

Graphene is a single, tightly-packed layer of carbon atoms bonded in a honeycomb shape.  At one atom thick, it is the thinnest material created that remains stable when exposed to the elements, e.g., temperature, air, etc.

Graphene can be layered with other compounds, essentially building an atomic scaffolding to engineer other materials. Its range of uses is exceptionally wide, but here are some applications identified by researchers:

  • Energy Storage—The challenge of eco-friendly energy is finding storage solutions that fit the needs of consumers and businesses. Scientists are adding graphene into battery components to improve recharging times and storage capacity, while making batteries smaller, lighter and safer.
  • Photovoltaic Cells—Graphene can be an alternative to the silicon or indium tin oxide used in photovoltaic cells. It is potentially cheaper, generates energy from all wavelengths and has greater flexibility, which allows for uses on clothing or fitted to window screens to generate power in a home or office.
  • Composite Materials—Adding graphene to epoxy resins and carbon fiber promises advances in aerospace, automotive, wind energy and sports applications.
  • Ultrafiltration—Graphene is a superior filter that can be utilized in water filtration systems, desalination plants and to make biofuel manufacturing more efficient and economical.
  • Biological Engineering—Graphene’s high electrical conductivity, thinness and strength could lead to development of devices to monitor the human body, such as glucose, hemoglobin and cholesterol levels. It may eventually be used in fighting cancer, tissue regeneration or as a new form of antibiotic.

Carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe, so there is little worry about resource shortages. However, producing graphene in affordable commercial quantities can be complicated and expensive. Yet, progress on this front is being made every day.

One recent production breakthrough was achieved by researchers at the University of Exeter. Their process used common wafer-scale or roll-to-roll manufacturing techniques to develop a graphene oxide-based humidity sensor integrated with plastic film that outperformed currently available commercial sensors.

Much like carbon-based fuels ignited the industrial revolution and silicon launched the age of computers, graphene may soon usher in the next epoch in human history.

See referenced disclosure (2) at http://blog.americanportfolios.com/disclosures/ 

 

Want to learn more about what our futures may hold? Check out other blogs in “The Future Series“.

TECHNOLOGY BREAKTHROUGHS—THE FUTURE OF

HYPERLOOP—THE FUTURE OF

PRIVATIZATION OF SPACE EXPLORATION

 

 

About The Author

Lon T. Dolber

 

CEO, CIO & President of American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (APFS) 
631.439.4600, ext. 106 

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