3D-Printing Interconnected Graphene Layers

- Sep 27, 2018-

Engineers from Virginia Tech and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed a novel way to 3D print graphene at a resolution far greater than ever before.This achievement paves the way for graphene's application to smaller objects and more diverse shapes.

For some time, researchers have been looking for efficient and cheap ways to make graphene, a carbon-based material known for its strength, weight and electrical conductivity.So far, however, they have not been able to develop materials large enough to support some of the objects they want to build with it.

Previously, researchers could only print graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms made of hexagonal cells, in two dimensions or in basic structures.In general, they are squeezed, just like squeezing toothpaste.However, the limitations of the technology are that it can only create simple objects superimposed on itself, the researchers said.

The key to developing the process was finding a solution to graphene's poor mechanical properties, which the team solved by separating graphene sheets with air-filled pores, researchers said.This is called a graphene aerogel, and it allows the 3D structure of graphene to maintain its properties.


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