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Australia Science Technology

Graphene Super Paper Is 10x Stronger Than Steel 244 244

Elliot Chang writes "The University of Technology in Sydney recently unveiled a new type of graphene nano paper that is ten times stronger than a sheet of steel. Composed of processed and pressed graphite, the material is as thin as a sheet of paper yet incredible durable — this strength and thinness gives it remarkable applications in many industries, and it is completely recyclable to boot."
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Graphene Super Paper Is 10x Stronger Than Steel

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  • Rate of degrading? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @10:22AM (#35893372)
    My understanding is that pure carbon things sublimate into CO2 over time (including diamonds) when exposed to oxygen.

    Just out of curiosity, anyone have an idea about the life of these sorts of materials? I'd think that a very thin, sublimating material with large surface area wouldn't last very long.
  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @10:23AM (#35893390)

    Note that this only refers to tensile strength. []

  • by zrbyte (1666979) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @10:37AM (#35893592)
    As somebody working with graphene and having read the paper; IMHO this can be improved even further by improving the micro-structure of the material (less defects). Less defects could prolly be achieved by annealing at a higher temperature (in vacuum or argon). Also irradiation with high energy ions could be useful in improving the interlocking of the graphene layers.
    Of course higher annealing temperature would make the material more expensive.
  • by name_already_taken (540581) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @10:51AM (#35893796)

    "it’s two times as hard, six times lighter and ten times higher in tensile strength"

    Well, to the materials scientists I work with, those words sound like advertising more than useful information.

    Two times as hard as steel. Steel in what condition? There is a very wide variety of steel alloys, and these can be heat treated to be as whatever hardness is necessary. Find a piece of mild steel (the kind of stuff you might find at the hardware store) and try to scratch it with something hard. You can scratch it pretty easily, but try again on a piece of stainless steel cutlery and you'll probably find it quite a bit more difficult. Both are steel.

    Six times lighter. Per unit volume? Ok, but how do the other characteristics compare given the same volume? Or given the same weight? The article doesn't give any real detail or any frame of reference.

    Ten times higher in tensile strength - again, if you want to compare to steel you need to give the alloy grade (grade refers to composition, not quality), and the heat treatment - anyone who's bought nuts and bolts at the hardware store has noticed that these metal items are available in different strength grades even within the same basic metal family.

    Those claims sound just like those given for aluminum - it's lighter (per unit volume), stronger (per unit weight), etc. But, in service, where toughness (ie. impact resistance, the ability to deform plastically before fracturing, etc), steel beats aluminum hands down.

    Not that I'm a big fan of steel or anything, it's just that these comparisons are often incomplete and therefore meaningless. It's too bad the article writer didn't include any actual mechanical property values.

  • by Skarecrow77 (1714214) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @10:55AM (#35893864)

    actually, if you think about it, this FINALLY makes the game make sense.

    who knows what the shearing force resistance of this new stuff is, common scissors may still be able to cut through it. on the other hand, there is finally a good reason why your average rock can't just rip through the center of it, which was always the weak point of the traditional rock-paper-scissors. there was never a good reason that paper could withstand rock. if there was, any houses at the base of mountains or volcanoes would be made out of paper.

  • by TempestRose (1187397) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @11:39AM (#35894722)
    (Slightly) More detail can be found at [] Cookies and subscription required for the full article, but they mention "carbon steel" as the "steel". So, I'm guessing they are comparing it to standard Home Depot, untreated, general grade crap mild steel. So, yep, marketing/fundraising talk.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban