Materials

'Simple, green, and cost-effective' method of graphene production announced

'Simple, green, and cost-effec...
A new method for graphene production has been discovered, that involves burning pure magnesium in dry ice (Image: AlexanderAIUS)
A new method for graphene production has been discovered, that involves burning pure magnesium in dry ice (Image: AlexanderAIUS)
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A new method for graphene production has been discovered, that involves burning pure magnesium in dry ice (Image: AlexanderAIUS)
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A new method for graphene production has been discovered, that involves burning pure magnesium in dry ice (Image: AlexanderAIUS)

Graphene, the one-atom-thick carbon sheet material that could revolution everything from energy storage to computer chips, can now be made much more easily - at least, that's what scientists from Northern Illinois University (NIU) are telling us. While previous production methods have included things like repeatedly splitting graphite crystals with tape, heating silicon carbide to high temperatures, and various other approaches, the latest process simply involves burning pure magnesium in dry ice.

The graphene created consists of several layers - not just one - although it is still less than ten atoms thick.

"It is scientifically proven that burning magnesium metal in carbon dioxide produces carbon, but the formation of this carbon with few-layer graphene as the major product has neither been identified nor proven as such until our current report," said Narayan Hosmane, an NIU professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and leader of the project. "The synthetic process can be used to potentially produce few-layer graphene in large quantities. Up until now, graphene has been synthesized by various methods utilizing hazardous chemicals and tedious techniques. This new method is simple, green and cost-effective."

Hosmane's team had set out to produce single-wall carbon nanotubes, and inadvertently discovered the graphene-production method in the process.

The research was recently published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry.

Last November, researchers from Rice University announced another promising graphene production method, that utilizes simple table sugar.

7 comments
Michael Johnson
this stuff is going to revolutionize the world!!!
Marsimillion Funkenstein
graphene\'s all good - but what about molybdenite - gizmag wrote about it like 3 mnths ago or so - it apparenly is better than graphene - can be cut into thinner \"slices\" alowing further miniaturization plus it\'s cheaper & more available
Slowburn
graphene, molybdenite. Let the free market decide, and we\'ll get the most cost effective products.
Traber Schroeder
@Slowburn - I\'m all for the free market bringing me better prices, but what about the externalized costs that might damage the environment and the sustainability of life on this planet? How can the free market deal with those costs?
Ankur
I don\'t know if Gizmag/you guys are aware of this or not but a similar method of producing Graphene in eco-friendly & cheaper has been discovered in NAC (Nano Application Center) at University of Allahabad. The standard procedure of producing Graphene takes about 5 days where as method discovered at NAC taken only 1 day. Here is the link talking about it from Newspaper website: http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=VE9JTC8yMDExLzA0LzI0I0FyMDEyMDM=&Mode=HTML&Locale=english-skin-custom
ralph.dratman
It seems odd to think that something useful could be made from just from carbon dioxide. (Burning the magnesium presumably just acts to capture the oxygen part of CO2, as graphene obviously does not contain any magnesium!)
Mike Garcia
Well, its funny for us human to be fascinated to produce something that nature has already dominated for millions of years in many cell structures and processes. Trees must be singing "Daaaah" at us every time we discover stuff like this. Also, as @Slowburn mentioned, having a new material involves creating a new industry, new companies, new marketing, commercial and production teams, which leads to great expenses to the environment. We are always fascinated by bio-friendly discoveries but I dont think we really consider all the other expenses that involve their commercialization.