Tuesday, 31 January 2017

CSIRO makes Plasteel from soybeans

Study co-author Dr Dong Han Seo with the new graphene film Credit: CSIRO

The CSIRO has developed a new form of graphene 200 times stronger than steel and more conductive than copper.

And it has made it from soybean oil.

This development may lead to large scale commercial development of a super strong building material (such as the idea of Plasteel from Dune, which was later borrowed by Star Wars). Graphene is made of a layer of tightly-packed carbon and as well as being super strong, it is extremely light.

This method using cheap, easily available ingredients and a simple lab-based method means the material is likely to become more freely available, opening its use up for many new applications.

Space travel seems a certain starter, as weight is a crucial consideration in getting space vehicles into orbit.

It is also likely to be used in electronics, energy storage devices, supercapacitors, solar cells and medicine.

The team of Australian scientists, led by study co-author Dr Zhao Jun Han of the CSIRO, have published the results of the research in the journal Nature Communications.

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