Scientists developed strong carbon sheets at low temperature, according to a study conducted on May 7, 2018.
This study was conducted by a team of researchers led by scientists at Beihang University in China and the University of Texas at Dallas. These carbon sheets developed at low temperatures are strong and super-tough sheets of carbon. Platelets of graphitic carbon were chemically stitched together by the researchers to develop these sheets. By the end of the fabrication process, a material whose mechanical properties exceeded those of carbon fiber composites that are currently being used in diverse commercial products was obtained.
According to the researchers, these sheets are expected to replace the expensive carbon fiber composites that are currently used for everything from aircraft and automobile bodies to windmill blades and sports equipment. The carbon fiber composites that are currently being used are expensive in part, as high temperature is required for the production of carbon fibers. In the process mentioned in this study, graphite can be cheaply dug and can be processed at low temperatures.
Platelets formed from stacked layers of graphene is present in graphite. Instead of mechanically stacking large-area graphene sheets, graphite platelets of micron size were oxidized so that it will get dispersed in water and then, by filtering this dispersion, sheets of oriented graphene oxide can be made inexpensively. Researchers then used bridging agents to stitch together the platelets in these sheets and converted the oxidized graphene oxide to graphene. Sheets that incorporated the bridging agents were 4.5 times stronger and 7.9 times tougher than agent-free sheets.
Sijie Wan, lead author of the journal article said, “While sheets of expensive carbon fiber composites can provide a similar strength in all sheet-plane directions, the energy that they can absorb before fracture is about one-third that of our sequentially bridged graphene sheets.”