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Science Technology

MIT Working On Industrial-Scale Graphene Printing Press 60

surewouldoutlaw writes "Hot on the heels of news that research into graphene is being funded by the NSF, MIT says it is working on an industrial-size graphene printing press for synthesizing sheets as large as 1-km square. The current record is 76 cm sq. Tomas Palacios, director of the Center for Graphene Devices and Systems, said, 'The way I approach graphene is different from most other researchers in this field. Ninety-nine percent of the papers on graphene have been written by physicists, focusing on amazing and unique properties of the material. I have the point of view of an engineer. I’m interested in finding the best applications for graphene’s unique properties.'"
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MIT Working On Industrial-Scale Graphene Printing Press

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  • Re:1km^2 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 23, 2011 @03:31PM (#37495358)
    I suspect he means one square kilometer, not one kilometer square. I know paper is generally made in very large rolls, and I would expect the engineer to try to replicate that method with the new material.
  • Got the answer (Score:4, Informative)

    by jomama717 ( 779243 ) <> on Friday September 23, 2011 @03:47PM (#37495542) Journal
    Using the wikipedia statement that "a stack of three million sheets would be only one millimeter thick" and a handy online rolled material calculator [] (using 1.5 inch center diameter and 6 inch outer diameter) you get ~32,000 miles!!!
  • Re:Space elevator (Score:4, Informative)

    by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @04:11PM (#37495810)

    The difference is one of manufacturing process.

    A graphene sheet could arguably be created using vapor deposition and big ass hydraulic press rollers. (Regularity and uniformity of the carbon lattice might be an issue at such thin material scales.)

    A nanotube making machine that makes use of sheet stock would need to have:

    1) very high quality sheet stock, free from any defects.
    2) be able to cut this sheet into a thin (12 to 20 atoms wide) strip, and then seamlessly curl this molecular width sheet into a tube with exacting precision, and then apply some form of energy to bind the sheet edges together seamlessly, and without disrupting the configuration of the other carbon atoms in the tube wall.

    That is a helluva lot of caveats to industrual long tube synth from sheet stock.

    More likely, the graphene sheets will be used in aviation as prepreg material for strong and light skins for high velocity craft, like fighter jets.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"