Scientific Breakthrough: Graphene Made from Soybean Oil
Graphene was discovered in 2004 by two physicists – Andre Greim and Konstantine Novoselov, who both were awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the nanofabric. Graphene has since proven to be a superconductor that is 200 times stronger than steel, and able to greatly improve batteries, computers, transistors, solar panels, fashion among other applications.
Although prized for its properties, graphene had been manufactured from explosive gasses under very strict conditions, making it very expensive and dangerous to produce. Solving this challenge, scientists from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) have developed a method of economically producing graphene from soybean oil – greatly improving the potential commercialization of the material.
Called “GraphAir” technology, graphene production has been simplified to a single step of heating soybean oil until it breaks down into carbon-building units that are deposited onto nickel foil that is then rapidly cooled, producing a graphene film that is 80,000 times thinner than a human hair.