“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, claimed Marilyn Monroe, but Graphene is certainly everyone’s best buddy. Both owe their wonderful genes to their parent, Carbon. Carbon is the black soot like thing you see every morning when you burn your toast. Not to mention it is the backbone of everything organic. There are now many more novel materials, like Carbyne for instance that owe their basic talents to Carbon. But we will stick to Graphene, in this article, for having taken over the scientific world with its sheer simplicity.
So what’s special about Graphene?
Let’s begin with a relatable introduction. You must have used a pencil in your lifetime. And you must have had episodes of rage and frustration when the soft black “lead” of the pencil broke at a crucial literary moment. Well, here’s the scoop – that’s not actually lead. It is again one of those Carbon babies – Graphite. Graphite is soft and easily breakable. And Graphene is, essentially, Graphite on a diet. That is, if you were to take the Graphite structure down to just one atom thick, you would get Graphene, a 2D structure of carbon atoms, that looks like a honeycomb.
And this honeycomb like 2D structure is incredibly handy. Why? Well, here are some reasons.
-This lanky carbon sheet is 200 times stronger than steel, tougher than diamond.
-It is extremely bendy and flexible, like rubber.
-It’s mutant like powers are only matched by its high electrical conductivity, even higher than copper.
-It is transparent, like glass.
– It conducts heat very well.
-And it is really quite light as you might expect anything an atom thick to be.
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