Adding graphene sheets makes for superior polymers

May 20th, 2008 - 12:48 pm ICT by admin  

London, May 20 (ANI): A team of experts from Northwestern University and Princeton University has unveiled a new kind of polymer, whose extraordinary thermal and mechanical properties make it fit for use in almost everything from aeroplanes to solar cells.

The researchers say that their polymer conducts electricity, and thus may eventually help create thermally stable and optically transparent conducting polymers.

Describing the composition of the new polymer, the researchers said that it is a nanocomposite that incorporates functionalised, exfoliated graphene sheets.

During the study, it was observed that adding just a tiny percentage of graphene sheets into the polymer dramatically changed its thermal stability as well as stiffness.

The researchers also found that the thermal and mechanical properties a polymer derives from the addition of functionalised graphene into it were quite similar to the properties that the use of single-wall nanotubes would have provided them.

They also found that using functionalised graphene offered a much easier and cheaper method to create better polymers.

This is the first time people have been able to demonstrate dramatically altered properties like this with really small quantities of graphite-based materials, Nature Nanotechnology quoted Cate Brinson, Jerome B. Cohen Professor of Mechanical Engineering and corresponding author of the paper, as saying.

The researchers said that the fact that the graphene sheets could block moisture and gases from penetrating the material, and change the thermal stability temperature and improve mechanical properties, made the durable polymer apt for use in everything from aircrafts to sports equipment to solar cells.

I think it has enormous potential. With the ready availability of graphite and the properties we have demonstrated, this new material will enable significant structural scale use of carbon-based nanocomposites, Brinson said.

The research team revealed that it would next study the polymers electroconductivity, with a view to translating their prospective findings into optically transparent conducting polymers that would be thermomechanically stable. (ANI)

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