Graphene has been touted as the material which will revolutionize the future. Every day some important property of the material is being discovered. Graphene in 2D form is one of strongest material ever tested. However, it was an impossible task to maintain the physical qualities of Graphene in its 3D form.
3-D Architecture based on Graphene-like 3D graphene bases hydrogels, foams, sponges have evoked keen interest within the scientific community because of the outstanding properties of graphene. It includes large surface area, excellent porosity, low density, stable mechanical and physical properties coupled with quick mass and electron transport all make it a very versatile material which can be put to some uses.
In its atom thin 2D form, no other material can match its strength. However, scientists have grappled with the problem of translating this property into 3D materials. However, in recent times exciting new research has increased the possibility of creating tough 3D objects using the carbon atom thin graphene sheet.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have perfected a process of compressing and fusing flakes of graphene, which is a two-dimension form carbon. The material produced had a density which was only 5% of steel but was ten times stronger. The conjunction of heat and pressure compressed the flakes of graphene to create structures which are akin to corals and diatoms. The next stage is to check out which is the strongest material which can be produced by this process.
The study which was published in Sciences Advances stated that the creation of the new 3D material has more to do with the geometric configuration than the actual material used. Therefore it has also opened avenues to create light and strong materials using similar geometric features.
The application of this process is numerous. Concrete made with same porous geometry will be very tough but will weigh a fraction of a solid block of conventional concrete. The porous air pocket will also make it better insulated from the vagaries of nature. The porosity of the material can also be used in ultrafiltration systems.