Cheap and instant: graphene can be made from garbage

Chemists have learned in a fraction of a second to produce high-quality graphene is literally out of garbage. This radically reduces the cost of amazing two-dimensional material, promising a revolution in many fields, from construction to electronics and medicine.

Achievement is described in a scientific paper published in the journal Nature by a group led by James Thor (James Tour) from rice University.

Today, pounds of two-dimensional carbon (graphene) can be bought at price from 67 to 200 USD (from 4200 to 12600 rubles at the current exchange rate). It is literally expensive. Such rates prevent mass deployment of this amazing material. Team Thor found a surprisingly easy solution.

Their method is reduced to the instantaneous heating virtually any organic material to 2700 DEGC. This temperature aged 10 milliseconds. The carbon turns into graphene, and all other components volatilize as a gas. Last you can catch, so as not to pollute the environment.

Raw material for the production of graphene can serve as biomass, including food waste and expired food. The Tur notes that 30-40% of all food produced goes to waste, as they do not have time to purchase before the expiration date. Now these mountains of organic matter can be turned into valuable material. Do not forget about the huge masses of wastes of agriculture and woodworking industry.

Fit and plastic trash, and it is not necessary to sort: suit any popular polymers. The paper can also go into business. In General, most ordinary people would just be dumped into a reactor the contents of his trash can.

If you are using raw materials with high carbon content (carbon black, anthracite and so on), then 80-90% of the original substance is converted into graphene. Biomass or domestic waste, of course, not as effective, but cheap.

By the way, graphene is obtained is practically pure (more than 99% carbona). In addition, it has surprisingly few defects in two-dimensional lattice. Finally, the mutual position of two-dimensional layers makes it easy to separate them from each other.

cheap and instant graphene can be made from garbage 1the New process allows to obtain high quality graphene from literally trash.Illustration Rouzbeh Shahsavari.

Note that in the proposed chemical process does not use any solvents or other reagents so that the resulting product is not required to clean. Besides the special design of the reactor allows almost all the energy to spend on the heating of raw materials, not walls of the chamber.

“You can put your finger directly into the container after a few seconds,” said Thor.

as a result, the synthesis of one kilogram of graphene is spent only two kilowatt-hours of electricity. In Moscow such enormous energy would cost about 11 rubles.

Among the many possible applications of graphene, the authors emphasize the construction industry. In particular, approximately 8% of carbon dioxide emissions comes from the production of cement. In the opinion of the researchers, adding the last only 0.1% graphene will help one-third will reduce the need of humanity in the concrete due to the fact that it will be much more durable. Thus it is possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yes, and graphene added to building materials, is carbon, which in the near future will not get into the atmosphere.

the Team has already begun experimenting with concrete and plastic with the addition of graphene.

By the way, before “News.Science” ( wrote about making graphene in a kitchen blender. We also talked about the growth of carbon nanotubes using reagents from the Arsenal of Housewives.

Text: To.Science