Article last updated on: Dec 09, 2019

Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb-like pattern. Graphene is considered to be the world's thinnest, strongest and most conductive material - to both electricity and heat. All this properties are exciting researchers and businesses around the world - as graphene has the potential the revolutionize entire industries - in the fields of electricity, conductivity, energy generation, batteries, sensors and more.

Mechanical strength

Graphene is the world's strongest material, and so can be used to enhance the strength of other materials. Dozens of researches have demonstrated that adding even a trade amount of graphene to plastics, metals or other materials can make these materials much stronger - or lighter (as you can use less amount of material to achieve the same strength).

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Such graphene-enhanced composite materials can find uses in aerospace, building materials, mobile devices, and many other applications.

Thermal applications

Graphene is the world's most conductive material to heat. As graphene is also strong and light, it means that it is a great material to make heat-spreading solutions, such as heat sinks or films used to dissipate heat. This could be useful in both microelectronics (for example to make LED lighting more efficient and longer lasting) and also in larger applications - for example thermal foils for mobile devices. Huawei's latest smartphones, for example, adopt graphene-based thermal films.

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Energy storage

Because graphene is the world's thinnest material, it is also the material with the highest surface-area to volume ratio. This makes graphene a very promising material to be used in batteries and supercapacitors. Graphene may enable batteries and supercapacitors (and even fuel-cells) that can store more energy - and charge faster, too.

Graphene battery advantages imageThe advantages of graphene batteries

Coatings ,sensors, electronics and more

Graphene has a lot of other promising applications: anti-corrosion coatings and paints, efficient and precise sensors, faster and efficient electronics, flexible displays, efficient solar panels, faster DNA sequencing, drug delivery, and more.

Graphene is such a great and basic building block that it seems that any industry can benefit from this new material. Time will tell where graphene will indeed make an impact - or whether other new materials will be more suitable.

The latest Graphene Application news:

Synthesizing a unique nanographene may advance spintronics applications

Graphene, despite its excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties, is traditionally not deemed suitable for magnetic applications. Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) Researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronics applications.

Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties. Together with colleagues from the Technical University in Dresden, Aalto University in Finland, Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz and University of Bern, Empa researchers have succeeded in building a nanographene with magnetic properties that could be a decisive component for spin-based electronics functioning at room temperature.

Graphene enables researchers to visualize the flow of electrons

Researchers from Israel's Weizmann Institute and the UK's Manchester University have succeeded in imaging electrons' hydrodynamic flow pattern for the first time using a novel scanning probe technique. They have proven the longstanding scientific theory that electrons can behave like a viscous liquid as they travel through a conducting material, producing a spatial pattern that resembles water flowing through a pipe.

The results of this study could help developers of future electronic devices, especially those based on 2D materials like graphene in which electron hydrodynamics is important.

Huawei rumored to be developing graphene battery tech for its future P40 Pro

Rumors suggest that mobile giant Huawei, which has already introduced to the market several models of graphene-enhanced mobile devices, will also be using the material in its next major smartphone release - the P40 Pro, the successor to the P30 and P30 Pro. It’s not expected to be revealed until 2020, but it may well include an interesting battery-related breakthrough.

Huawei Mate P30 Pro photo

Huawei Mate P30 Pro

While not official in any way, Huawei may introduce graphene technology to the P40’s battery, increasing the capacity without drastically increasing the volume, and helping to speed up the charging. The battery will reportedly have a 5500mAh capacity, and be equipped with a 50W fast charge system to recharge it in 45 minutes. This will definitely be interesting, and a different use of graphene than the former cooling functions.

Graphene Flagship launches Airbus-Backed Project for graphene-based thermoelectric ice protection systems

The Graphene Flagship has announced the GICE Spearhead Project - development of a graphene-based thermoelectric ice protection system, that will aim to advance the technology readiness of graphene in such applications.

If ice accumulates on the wings, propellers or other surfaces of an aircraft, control can be dangerously inhibited. Thermoelectric ice protection systems prevent this from happening, using an ultra-thin conductive coating layer to generate heat when current is applied. The GICE project will attempt to use graphene to improve existing technology for this application.

Inov-8 adds graphene to its X-Talon range of footwear

The collaboration between the University of Manchester and British sportswear brand Inov-8, which started in 2017 and has already produced the G-Series range of graphene-enhanced shoes and a pair of hiking boots which utilize graphene, has now expanded even further.

Inov-8's new graphene-enhanced shoes image

Since launching in 2008, the X-Talon has been Inov-8’s best-selling off-road footwear collection. Now, the brand announced that they have evolved the range with the graphene-enhanced X-Talon G 235.