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Graphene: A replacement for batteries?


  • Dude, I don't think something like this needs its own thread. You can just as well post this in the Thing of the Day thread.
  • edited February 2013
    The physics of graphene, the viability of carbon nano-tube manufacturing, and the implications of future battery tech could definitely fill a whole thread. I won't be doing it, though, because I don't know anything about any of that.
    Post edited by Walker on
  • In the nearer term, looks like graphene-based ink might be coming to market, and able to withstand machine washing/drying. Hopefully a step closer to better, more practical wearable computing.
  • Below is a copy from the transcript of Security Now! with Steve Gibson in which he talks about graphene. I just thought those who don't listen to his show might enjoy what he had to say.

    "STEVE: So imagine just a flat sheet of carbon atoms linked to each other absolutely flat. It's called an atomic monolayer. But get a load of its properties. Okay, in terms of resistivity, that is, its resistance to electrical flow, a graphene sheet is 10E-6 ohms per centimeter. So...

    LEO: Very low. Very, very low.

    STEVE: Unbelievably low resistance. In fact...

    LEO: Is it a superconductor in that case?

    STEVE: It's not, but it is, like, it's, like, close. It's less resistance than silver, which is the lowest resistivity substance known at room temperature, and graphene is lower than that. It's also one of the strongest materials known. Get this. A square meter graphene hammock, imagine that you made a hammock that was a square meter, so a little more than a yard by a yard. That would support a 4-kilogram cat, an 8.8-pound cat. Okay?

    LEO: Okay.

    STEVE: It would weigh only as much as one of the cat's whiskers.

    LEO: Wow.

    STEVE: 0.77 milligrams. It is that thin and that low weight, but that strong. So that a square meter of graphene sheeting could support an 8.8, almost a 9-pound cat, yet weigh about as much as a whisker. And it is .001 percent of the weight of paper, .001 percent. So just incredible. It is also transparent. It only absorbs 2.3 percent of the light passing through it.

    LEO: Oh, see, I was going to make a solar sail out of it, but it wouldn't be very good for that.

    STEVE: Well...

    LEO: Strong but invisible.

    STEVE: Because you need to be reflective in order to...

    LEO: Yeah, to capture it.

    STEVE: Yes. But think of all the instances where we want something conductive that's an electrode, like a touchscreen or an LCD panel, where we need to pass electricity. Nothing does this better than graphene. So huge applications there. But more than anything else, ultracapacitors. What you need for an ultracapacitor is two electrically conductive surfaces very, very close. And it turns out you can create graphene oxide, which by being an oxide is an insulator. So you take a graphene sheet, a graphene oxide and a graphene sheet. And they are incredibly close together. They're one molecule apart. And the graphene sheets are incredible low resistance. So they can hold a large charge with a high breakdown between them.

    Initial studies of using graphene for ultracapacitors has shown that it has more energy density than current lithium metal - it wasn't metal - it wasn't lithium ion. It was lithium metal hydride, which is slightly lower energy density than lithium ion cells. But still, real, I mean, like, this is existing, I mean, we're getting this in the lab today. So this isn't, you know, bizarro future technology that isn't close. And everyone's talking about cell phones that you can charge in a second whose charge lasts a day. No more of this hours to recharge. Or cars where you drive them into a high-current charging station, plug in for 60 seconds, and you are completely topped up."


    "STEVE: I mean, everybody is racing. The Patent Office is under siege with graphene-related patents. So there are a lot of things that have been done that no one can talk about yet because they're waiting to, I mean, they're having to go through some intellectual property protection process. But labs everywhere are going nuts. And it turns out that maybe it's going to affect both semiconductor production, because you need conductive surfaces on top of semiconductors. Right now they use what's called "metalization layers." And graphene, if they could figure out how to tame it, could be way better than what they have now for semiconductor metalization layers. And there's been some notion that this may create a breakthrough in quantum computing, as well. So this is really cool stuff."
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