One of the lightest and strongest materials on earth, currently, is graphene. When artificially mixed with oxide, the substance becomes an excellent insulator and readily disperses in water. Such unique properties make graphene exceptional for many different applications.
There is so much potential when it comes to batteries and energy storage. Batteries, by nature, are designed to hold a lot of energy. The problem lies with their long-charging times, which can be burdensome in many industries.
Graphene can alleviate some of this burden when added to the makeup of lithium-ion batteries. Not only do these batteries provide better energy storage capabilities, but their charge times are much quicker compared to traditional batteries.
Researchers are also looking to incorporate graphene into supercapacitors. Like lithium batteries, they can store a lot of energy and charge rather quickly. Expect to see these capacitors in a lot of smartphones in the near future.
When it comes to aircraft manufacturing, it's absolutely essential to use the right materials. After all, airplanes need strong, yet lightweight materials so that performance is not impeded in the slightest. Traditionally, steel is used for aircraft materials given its durable nature.
However, graphene may take over the stronghold that steel has had over this industry for decades. These advanced graphene materials feature three important properties for the aircraft industry: strong, stiff, and lightweight.
Graphene is much lighter compared to steel, which improves fuel efficiency to help cut down on costs. Graphene is also available in the form of a protective coat, which can shield airplanes and helicopters from many things while in the air.
Graphene is also unique in the fact that it contains atoms that can detect changes in the environment. As such, graphene works extremely well when used as sensors. Take crop production, for example. Graphene could be used to detect the presence of gas and other harmful toxins in the air. This gives farmers the chance to act quickly, before they cause further damage to their crops and, most importantly, to consumers.
Graphene sensors can also be implemented in the food packaging industry. If food goes through changes and starts decaying, graphene will alert the appropriate packaging departments before serious illnesses result.
The future of graphene is bright and filled with some many practical applications. As long as researchers and industries pay close attention to this unique material, there's no telling what is possible.