How To Extract GrapheneFebruary 2, 2019
Graphene is a wonder material. Graphene is incredibly light yet immensely strong. This material is unlike any other known material to man today. Graphene had been continuously studied since its discovery more than 15 years ago. Today, there are useful practical applications of graphene with potential new uses being discovered rapidly.
What is Graphene?
Graphene is a single-layered sheet of carbon atoms. It is only one-atom-thick and invisible to the naked eye. The carbon atoms in graphene arranged in a unique hexagonal lattice-pattern. Every carbon atom in graphene linked with three other carbon atoms. The inter-linked carbon atoms form a honeycomb.
Graphene shows some unique properties. These properties of graphene are incredible, to say the least. Graphene properties tend to make it a genuinely revolutionary material today. The impressive chemical, physical, electronic and thermal properties of graphene give it widespread application.
How to extract Graphene?
There are numerous methods for extraction of graphene. Some of these graphene-extraction methods are simple and can be successfully done at home. Other methods of extracting graphene require elaborate laboratory equipment and significant scientific and technical knowledge.
Currently, the exfoliation method for extraction of graphene involves the least defects and provides the highest electron mobility. Some of the exfoliation methods of extracting graphene are:
Adhesive tape for extracting graphene sounds too simple to be true. However, scientists at the University of Manchester used this same technique and received a Nobel Prize in Physics. In this, you will need to scribble with a lead pencil on a piece of paper. When you scribble enough over a small area on the paper, you will see a layer of graphite forming there.
Use a conventional sticky tape to collect the accumulated graphite from the paper. Use another piece of sticky tape and put it over the first one. Gently remove the second tape. Use a fresh piece of sticky tape with every step. Soon, you will have a single layer of graphite which is technically graphene.
Liquid shear exfoliation is a useful technique to extract graphene. Theoretically, shear exfoliation in liquid begins by mixing powdered crystals in a liquid. Using a shear blender, the material can be extracted easily from the crystal with exfoliation (separation).
A liquid is essential for this process as it prevents graphene particles from clumping together. It keeps the graphene particles well separated and in a state of suspension. This liquid mixture can dry quickly. It gives nano-flakes of graphene. These could be used effectively for developing graphene coatings and paints.
Heptane-Water Interface Film Formation
This is a relatively ultra-modern method for extraction of graphene. The fluid mechanics utilized in this graphene-extraction technique helps immensely. We know that non-water soluble materials mixed with water they tend to float (when lighter in density) or collect at the bottom (when higher in density).
This technique requires using heptanes and water along with fine graphite powder. When this mixture immersed in a sonication bath, it results in producing 1 to 4 layers-thick graphene which is chemically stable as well. You can easily extract the graphene sheets and deposit them over a glass substrate easily too.
These are the most common techniques used to extract graphene today. There are multiple methods used for graphene extraction however many of these are highly complex and require an utterly controlled laboratory environment and equipment for successfully extracting graphene.
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