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Intrigued by Graphene - martyup - 04-25-2014

I just learned of the existence of graphene.  I saw a little blurb about it on the news and then Googled it.  You nearly need a Phd in Chemical Engineering to understand the Wikipedia page on this stuff.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphene

Apparently there are no current commercial uses of graphene.  I am intrigued by this substance and wonder if we could do some brainstorming here on practical applications.  The only potential application mentioned in the news story was adding it to plastic so that beer could be packaged in enhanced plastic bottles.  I think we could do better than that.

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Re: Intrigued by Graphene - martyup - 04-25-2014

(04-25-2014, 01:16 PM)Mikeferrari link Wrote:[quote author=martyup link=topic=9890.msg88456#msg88456 date=1398456947]
The only potential application mentioned in the news story was adding it to plastic so that beer could be packaged in enhanced plastic bottles.  I think we could do better than that.

But a good start :)
[/quote]

I don't drink, but if I did would I really be excited about drinking a beer out of a plastic bottle?  I don't think so.  But, that's just me.


More on Graphene ... and Frogs - CTcard - 04-25-2014

I am in danger of committing the terrible faux pas of adding seriousness where it doesn't belong, but I do know something about graphene. But for more levity - go to the bottom paragraph.

There seem to be two main pushes on graphene research that I know about - neither of which involve packaging beer.

It's very thin (by definition) and electrons move very easily once set on the move - so it has potential as the material that will replace silicon to allow Moore's Law type improvements to continue. Of course over the years there have been many "materials that will replace silicon" and up to now they all remain in the future tense.

More physicsy-geeky, electrons in graphene have a very unusual relationship between their energy and momentum - the same as photons (light) rather than regular electrons. So, there are all sorts of weird light-like phenomena you might be able to induce in the electronic behaviour of graphene. Very cool for understanding basic theories of how matter works - not so clear if it leads to a direct technological application (though plenty of suggestions).

BUT, likely of much more general interest is the background of the guy who figured out how to isolate individual sheets of graphene, Andre Geim (along with his ex-student Novosolev). Geim is of note in physics circles for being the only person ever to have won both the Nobel Prize, for isolating graphene (2010) and an Ig-Nobel Prize for magnetically levitating a frog (2000).

Video of levitated frog: http://www.ru.nl/hfml/research/levitation/diamagnetic/  (click on top right picture)

Geim's wikipedia bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andre_Geim
Ig Nobel Prize http://www.improbable.com/ig/
List of Ig Nobel Prize Winners http://www.improbable.com/ig/winners/  (funny in a very geeky way)


Re: More on Graphene ... and Frogs - Robbie - 04-25-2014

(04-25-2014, 04:09 PM)CTcard link Wrote:Video of levitated frog: http://www.ru.nl/hfml/research/levitation/diamagnetic/  (click on top right picture)

And for those of you who want to see a clip of a magnetically levitated frog, but would rather use modern web technology than the MPEG-download/open-in-viewer dance that you did in 1998, try this:




Re: Intrigued by Graphene - stupac2 - 04-25-2014

I remember reading about the frog levitation back when it was done. That's pretty fantastic that it's the same guy as graphene.


Re: Intrigued by Graphene - martyup - 04-25-2014

Okay CT, I don't get any of that, but what is this stuff likely to do for humanity?  Can we make something cool with it?  How about ultra light football helmets and shoulder pads to give our team an advantage?


Re: More on Graphene ... and Frogs - 82lsju - 04-25-2014

(04-25-2014, 04:09 PM)CTcard link Wrote:It's very thin (by definition) and electrons move very easily once set on the move - so it has potential as the material that will replace silicon to allow Moore's Law type improvements to continue. Of course over the years there have been many "materials that will replace silicon" and up to now they all remain in the future tense.

like

gallium arsenide...."technology of the future, always has been, always will be"    :)



Re: More on Graphene ... and Frogs - CTcard - 04-25-2014

(04-25-2014, 06:14 PM)82lsju link Wrote:like

gallium arsenide...."technology of the future, always has been, always will be"    :)

Aha. That's exactly what I was refering to.


Re: Intrigued by Graphene - CTcard - 04-25-2014

(04-25-2014, 05:25 PM)martyup link Wrote:Okay CT, I don't get any of that, but what is this stuff likely to do for humanity?  Can we make something cool with it?  How about ultra light football helmets and shoulder pads to give our team an advantage?

My first, geeky-physicist answer is what it will do for humanity is increase our knowledge of how the universe is put together. It seems worthwhile to me that we, humanity, know about things like black holes, the big bang, and the Higgs Boson even if there won't be technology based on these any time soon. [Though I am working on my black hole garbage disposal unit.]

But, graphene probably will give us some technology. In fields connected to mine the applications people think about are 1) replacing silicon in transistors to make them smaller - so that your computers continue to get faster, smaller, and cheaper every year, 2) as the basis for building a quantum-computer which nominally could do certain types of caluclations way faster than anything now; particularly operations associated with encryption and unencryption (so the NSA cares about it) - but this is a long shot, and 3) because it's entirely surface area it should be a good sensor for all sorts of stuff - tiny amounts of pollutants, trouble in your car's engine, etc.

There are a whole lot of other things people are dreaming about, most of them either mostly fantasy or only small improvements on existing technology - but graphene will become part of the materials tool box of our technological society.
Here's wikipedia's article on potential applications: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potential_applications_of_graphene


Re: More on Graphene ... and Frogs - stupac2 - 04-25-2014

(04-25-2014, 06:14 PM)82lsju link Wrote:like

gallium arsenide...."technology of the future, always has been, always will be"    :)

Gallium Arsenide has some uses as a radiation detector.


Re: More on Graphene ... and Frogs - CTcard - 04-25-2014

(04-25-2014, 06:40 PM)stupac2 link Wrote:[quote author=82lsju link=topic=9890.msg88497#msg88497 date=1398474876]like

gallium arsenide...."technology of the future, always has been, always will be"    :)

Gallium Arsenide has some uses as a radiation detector.
[/quote]

And some others uses where cost doesn't matter so much but low power usage and robustness versus heat does matter (think military in particular, and also some mobile phone circuitry I think). But it has not replaced silicon overall, which was the basis for the "technology of the future" phrase.


Re: Intrigued by Graphene - CowboyIndian - 04-25-2014

Our question about every new material since the 70s: "Can you build a boat out of it?"


Re: Intrigued by Graphene - CompSci87 - 04-25-2014

(04-25-2014, 06:49 PM)CowboyIndian link Wrote:Our question about every new material since the 70s: "Can you build a boat out of it?"

http://www.asce.org/concretecanoe/basicsidebar.aspx?id=23622324498


Re: Intrigued by Graphene - Leftcoast - 04-25-2014

Concrete ships and barges were used extensively during WWII (and some in WWI).  The basic design was slow and fuel inefficient but given the shortage of steel and the need to carry supplies to the Pacific and European fronts, concrete was a viable alternative.  They made just one or two round trips but that was enough. 

The ships were slow and much too inefficient for peace time work and many were purposefully sunk to form breakwaters and reefs after the wars.  This world war I era derelict is still in place south of Santa Cruz at Seacliff beach in Aptos.

[Image: Palo-Alto-from-Cliff.jpg]

(Picture courtesy of wikimedia)


Re: Intrigued by Graphene - CowboyIndian - 04-25-2014

When I was cruising (non-gaily) in the 70s, I ran into a couple of concrete boats...both from Alaska and one of which had doubled as a fishing boat in the North Pacific. If built properly and allowed to cure,  these guys were convinced there was nothing they could build that was sturdier...or safer. I was a closed-cell foam guy, myself.


Re: Intrigued by Graphene - Stymie - 04-26-2014

In February I interviewed a candidate for admission to LSJU who was a graphene fanatic and thought that Stanford was the world leader in researching applications for the stuff.  I googled "graphene Stanford", and this seems to be true.  He got rejected, and will probably be going to Manchester U, where the stuff was discovered, but is focusing mostly on manufacturing technologies (to date only a very small amount of graphene has been created, and at an understandably prohibitively high cost).  Yet another 4-5* recruit lost due to our high admission standards.....


Re: Intrigued by Graphene - Mick - 04-26-2014

(04-26-2014, 03:23 AM)Stymie link Wrote:In February I interviewed a candidate for admission to LSJU who was a graphene fanatic and thought that Stanford was the world leader in researching applications for the stuff.  I googled "graphene Stanford", and this seems to be true.  He got rejected, and will probably be going to Manchester U, where the stuff was discovered, but is focusing mostly on manufacturing technologies (to date only a very small amount of graphene has been created, and at an understandably prohibitively high cost).  Yet another 4-5* recruit lost due to our high admission standards.....

So given the size of the applicant pool and the size of the campus, why not admit additional students instead of losing them to other institutions?


Re: Intrigued by Graphene - garvin - 04-26-2014

Well, you'd have to hire more faculty and build more dorms and other infrastructure. Parking -- at least anywhere near the main part of campus -- is a constant hassle. Of course, there was an effort at major expansion when Stanford was trying to open a campus in New York a few years ago. I wasn't heartbroken when the idea was dropped. I think keeping things small -- not tiny, like St. John's, but small -- is a key part of the Stanford experience.


Intrigued by Graphene - martyup - 04-26-2014

(04-25-2014, 04:09 PM)CTcard link Wrote:I am in danger of committing the terrible faux pas of adding seriousness where it doesn't belong, but I do know something about graphene.

Intrigued, but ignorant am I.  Can you explain this entry quoted from Wikipedia?:

"Graphene-based membranes are impermeable to all gases and liquids (vacuum-tight). However, water evaporates through them as quickly as if the membrane was not present."

How can they be impermeable to liquids, but water evaporates through them? :-X


Re: Intrigued by Graphene - Leftcoast - 04-26-2014

Graphene has a weird affinity for water according to a University of Manchester published report.

http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/display/?id=11561