Whoa, Graphene Can Make Other Metals 500 Times Stronger

Whoa, Graphene Can Make Other Metals 500 Times Stronger

We've heard about plenty of promising electronic applications for miracle material graphene from headphones, to super-fast transistors, to crazy camera sensors, and even solar-powered paint. But now scientists have found a way to leverage its raw strength, by using it to make metal up to 500 times stronger.

By taking a thin film of metal and then "growing" a layer of graphene on top of it using chemical vapour deposition, scientists at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) were able to make multi-layered metal-graphene sandwiches. And when you put a whole bunch on top of each other, these layers can make nickel 180 times stronger, and copper a whopping 500 times stronger than it would be alone. And the best part is that it hardly adds any weight.

Researcher Professor Seung Min Han explained it this way in a press release:

The result is astounding as 0.00004% in weight of graphene increased the strength of the materials by hundreds of times. Improvements based on this success, especially enabling mass production with roll-to-roll process or metal sintering process, in the production of automobile and spacecraft lightweight, ultra-high strength parts may become possible.

Now, as always, it's just a matter of rolling out these processes on a wide scale. Or putting them in the "awesome science discoveries" vault, never to be heard from again. The researchers don't offer much advice about how to pull this off on factory floors, but hopefully someone can figure it out. It's about time we get some adamantium. [Nature via IEEE Spectrum]

Picture: Joe Gough/Shutterstock

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    Interesting choice of copper and nickel. I would like to see titanium and aluminium.
    Will be hard to use iron.

    Last edited 29/08/13 2:42 pm

    carbon fibre with a graphene coating for formula 1?

    that being said, creating thin layers and layers will be very costly

    also strength has many aspects, do they mean tensile strength, maleability, etc or what

    metals are "strong" but you can hammer them or bend them etc

      it's a nano scale laminate, it isn't malleable. The links specifically state tensile, though compressive strength would also be improved.

        still that means if they sprayed it on CF it would more awesome right
        ive seen a CF axle being twisted vs a steel one

        steel snapped at about 150n of force vs CF at 450-500

          nah you're thinking too old school, Graphene is carbon atoms in a lattice structure already. Think of it as super CF and you start to get an idea of it.

          This process probably needs the elasticity of the metals to work.

          You could probably start with a CF frame though, and grow the metal and graphene layers on top. Though there's probably cheaper materials to use.

    BHP will be snapping up the patent in 3...2...1...

    Last edited 29/08/13 3:19 pm

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