Graphene is set to make our world cleaner and smarter in thousands of ways. Here are 5 of them.
Technology-driven efficiency gains already outstrip conversion to renewable energy as a driver of carbon reduction. Graphene has the power to turbocharge these efficiency gains and put companies and countries within easy reach of aggressive emissions reduction targets.
1. Material strength – as the hardest material ever measured, adding graphene to many existing materials has the capacity to dramatically increase their strength, thus enabling more to be done with less. This applies to:
- Composite materials
2. Energy conductivity – as the most electrically conductive material ever measured, graphene enables manufacturing to deliver never-before seen products such as paper-thin batteries, flexible smartphones, batteries that charge in minutes and microprocessors that operate at speeds previously thought impossible.
3. Heat transfer – also the most thermally conductive material ever measured, graphene added to coolants or paints has demonstrated significant savings of energy (up to 30%) through the increased efficiency of heating and cooling systems, thereby reducing carbon emissions. Building materials like concrete can be enabled to transfer heat energy around a building to further minimise energy draw.
4. Making materials ‘smart’ – as the world’s only 2-dimensional material, a single layer of graphene atoms enables the measurement of temperature, fractures, contact, breaches or distortion in materials. Among thousands of other applications, this means smart energy-saving buildings, smart roads that measure traffic, load measurement in trucks and temperature management and leak detection in buildings.
5. Reduced friction – graphene as an additive to lubricants reduces friction and increases operational efficiency. Trials with graphene-enhanced diesel fuels and lubricants are showing up to 40% reductions in fuel consumption.
These advances are not theoretical. The technology exists now and is, in many instances, in market or on a path to commercialisation, and much of the development is taking place in Australia and being sold to the world.
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