DUBLIN, Ireland, April 22 (UPI) -- Graphene is made up of a one-atom thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb-like structure. It is strong, flexible, lightweight, nearly transparent and a superb conductor of heat and electricity. Graphite is effectively layer upon layer of graphene.
Scientists were only recently able to construct graphene in a lab setting, but now, researchers have shown its possible to make graphene at home -- in a kitchen blender.
A group of scientists from the United Kingdom and Ireland used a variety of materials and machines, including kitchen blenders, to demonstrate how a rapidly rotating tool (a blender blade) can break down and separate the layers of graphene that make up graphite flakes, without compromising its atomic structure.
The researchers -- via experiments conducted at Trinity College Dublin -- were able to create graphene by mixing the proper amount of graphite powder, water and dishwashing liquid in a high-powered blender.
Material engineers think graphene could be added to a range of other materials to make them stronger and conductive. Some think it could replace silicon in advanced electronics. The material may also have applications in oil spill clean-ups and water treatment technologies.
The researchers detailed their work with graphene in the latest edition of the journal Nature Materials.