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Why graphene hasn’t taken over the world…yet

Why graphene hasn’t taken over the world…yet

– [Cory] It may not look like it, but I’m creating one of the strongest and most versatile materials
on Earth, graphene. You’ve probably heard buzz about it. Graphene made big waves back in 2004, and it’s knocked around
science news ever since. – A global race for graphene. – You know, it’s not just
limited to one little thing. – One of the greatest
discoveries of the 21st century. – [Man] Graphene could be the key to a lot of mind blowing technology. – But that was almost 15 years ago. Where are all of the graphene
wonders that we were promised? The bulletproof armor,
the graphene circuitry, the ultra light airplanes,
the graphene medicine, a space elevator? – [Female Voiceover] So the
next time man walks on the moon, maybe he’ll take the
elevator to get there. – Clearly, a lot of the
buzz never went anywhere. But graphene does exist. Engineers have gone to
making one fleck at a time, to producing it by the barrelful. – Do you want to try to pick it up? – Sure. – [Cory] So the graphene
revolution we were promised may already be in motion. – You can stretch and pull on it, and in fact, a good way to visualize it, is that if you had a big
enough sheet of pure graphene, you could hold up a soccer
ball on just one atomic layer, and that’s insane. – [Cory] Joseph Meany is
an analytical chemist, who coauthored a book about
the promise of graphene. He explained to us that
graphene is just carbon, like coal, or graphite, or diamond. The difference is in how the carbon atoms are bonded together, and in the unique shape
the material takes. – [Joseph] So it’s just
a single atom sheet, there’s no z dimension
to speak of in graphene. And these atoms of carbon
are arranged in interlocking or tessellated hexagons,
kind of like a chicken wire. The bonds between the carbon atoms are actually extremely strong. – Back in 2004, researchers
in the UK discovered that they could produce graphene with some shockingly simple tools. A hunk of a particular type if graphite, and some standard issue tape. – [Joseph] Yeah, it was
just a very large hunk that you could hold in your
hand, and they took the tape and put it down onto the
surface of the graphite, and just lifted it off. – From there, they used chemicals
to dissolve away the tape, and they were left with
tiny flakes of graphene with remarkable properties. It’s impossibly light,
yet incredibly strong. It’s flexible, and it’s a
highly efficient conductor of electricity. The researchers won a Nobel Prize in 2010, and today in 2018, literally
everything around us is built or enhanced with graphene. Okay, not quite. – [Phillip] Yeah, I think
it’s very easy for the media and for the press to seize on any new scientific or technological development as something that’s
going to be be transformative, you know, scientists come with
these amazing new materials and then everything changes, and of course it never
really happens that way. – [Cory] Phillip Ball is a
reporter who’s written a bunch about the graphene hype machine. And I asked him to throw
some cold water on the story. – [Phillip] Hello? – Hi, is this Phillip Ball? – [Phillip] It is, yes. – Hi, how are you doing? This is Cory calling from the Verge, – [Phillip] Hi, hello, Cory. Of course with any new technology, the reality is it generally
takes years to develop it. It would be unreasonable
to expect graphene to transform our lives overnight. – The uphill battle for any new material is that it can’t just be better
than existing technology, it has to be much better. Phillip says that’s
the issue with graphene replacing silicon in electronics. – [Phillip] Certainly there are companies who are exploring its use as a conductive electronic material. But of course we already
have such materials, and graphene has really
got to have big advantages over what we have already
if it’s going to displace what is already well
established, mature, technology. – But that’s not to say that
graphene hasn’t gone anywhere in 15 years. We found some engineers
who are making materials with graphene today,
materials that could one day even end up in space ships. The company is Vorbeck Materials, and their president, John Lettow, showed me how far they’ve come
with graphene mass production and he gave us a free sample. Literally it’s like floating in the vial. – And so if you open that up, you can take out, this is a
bag of about 1.5 kilograms of graphene fits in a 30 gallon container. So it’s very light,
sort of very voluminous, in it’s sort of raw state. – [Cory] Vorbeck is introducing its manufactured graphene powder to all sorts of industrial
and consumer products, like RFID tags, clothing, and even rubber. So you take the graphene,
you blend it into rubber, and the rubber they use,
sort of big blenders almost, that beat the rubber around,
mix the graphene into it, and what you get by mixing
the graphene with the rubber is very high temperature capabilities, and also very high strength. – Thinking about an application for this, you talked about space ships right? – Right. – You’re going through
extremely high temperature to extremely cold
temperature in out er space, you don’t want rubber that
would expand and contract and lose its strength over time. – Exactly. – This material won’t do that? – That’s exactly right. – [Cory] And on the electronics front, Vorbeck has created graphene based inks that can be printed en mass
on standard printing presses. When printed on water proof
fabrics, they can be washed, heated, ironed, wrinkled, and twisted, without damaging the circuits. This is extremely promising for the future of graphene based wearable electronics, which John says we should be
on the lookout for in 2019. – What we really hope is
that we can walk into a room, five years from now, and
most people in that room will have an article of clothing that has graphene wearable
electronics in it. – So there are big things
happening with graphene, we just have to be patient, and we can’t believe
everything we read about it. And for what it’s worth,
we’ve been here before. – [Phillip] It’s this sort
of long standing notion of a wonder material. I think it does go back to
the dawn of the plastic age in the 1920s and 1930s. You know, you saw all the
same kinds of promises made for them, that they were going to
be these wonder materials that would do everything. – I just want to say one
word to you, just one word. – Yes sir? – Are you listening? – Yes sir, I am. – Plastics. – [Phillip] Plastics, you know, they clearly had a huge impact and they do all kinds of useful things, but they have their limitations too. I guess it was really a sort of reference to this sort of longstanding
idea of wonder materials that were you know, going to
solve every problem. – Graphene might not be a wonder material any more than plastic is,
but the way John sees it, if graphene works well on its own merits, the hype won’t matter at all. – We really don’t want
our customers to care whether it’s graphene or not. What we want them to
know is that this thing, this device that you’re
using, works better, for longer, than anything
else you can get. And whether it has graphene in it, whether they advertise
it and use that hype as part of the marketing or not, is sort of completely irrelevant. It just is better. – Hey everyone, thanks for watching. If you have any ideas for a material you’d like us to check
out, please let us know in the comments below and
don’t forget to subscribe to our new Verge science YouTube channel, where we’re putting
out a video every week. Thanks!

100 thoughts on “Why graphene hasn’t taken over the world…yet

  1. At The Graphene Council, we serve the global community of more than 25,000 materials scientists working with graphene. It is rapidly being adopted for commercial applications. Here is a short summary of where we are commercially today with graphene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D94USUyH2nQ&t=36s

  2. graphene technology is being suppressed. it can be made simply using plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition of methane gas onto a copper or silicon substrate.

  3. Just wait until school kids start taking out the graphite on their pencils for a new kind of mafia

  4. If graphene can easily produce or easily can obtain then it will not make much profit, and many mining business for other raw materials around the world will effected heavily by this new element. In our world we live today no profit = no implementation. Like tesla's discovery about electricity. They rather destroy the earth to make profit rather than innovate to preserve it.

  5. We only have so much Lithium Ion in this world Graphene Batteries is gonna happen one day, just make sure the price is cheap when it does sell

  6. There is a real material better than graphene and it is called "borophene" made of boron. The reason you haven’t heard it very much because lots of firm made huge investments in graphene. If you are interested in just google the "borophene" or just Click it https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613267/borophene-the-new-2d-material-taking-chemistry-by-storm/

  7. Samsung going to release smartphone with graphene batteries next year or in 2021 which could 45% increase in capacity and 5 times faster charging

  8. Such a wonderful material, some day it will replace all the plastic material for our everyday use, but will it become an environmental hazard? we need to think ahead before it becomes an issue like the plastic.

  9. Verge Science: Graphene is almost here.
    Underground Scientists (A): "What you been working on the last 7 years."
    Underground Scientists (B): "Just a few things: Graphene-Boron Fiber, Super Steel, Aluminum-Steel, Aluminum-Titanium, Bucky Paper, Zylon-Carbon Fiber, Aerogel, Fullerene, Boron-Nitride, Lonsdaleite, Dyneema, Carbyne, Aerographite, Ultem. Can't wait till 2020's it's gonna be 10 times more new matterials."

  10. The UK researchers who first discovered it were in my home town Manchester, England. At the uni. Legends. We made the first computer too. Big up Manchester

  11. I am proud to see Vorbevk using the process I invented to make graphene for different emerging applications. I am also happy that I am pay me royalties for using my parents.

  12. For economy of scale manufacturing they have not figured it out yet. Besides if it is cheaper better faster you can bet the worlds corporate governments will never let it exist as cheaper better faster energy storage.

  13. Samsung graphene batterys, but you mentioned Plastics as if it was not revolutionary as if it promised more than what it is just wanted to mention it everything in our lifes is revolved around Plastics.

  14. The Spanish company Grabat is already producing graphene batteries. The latest is a car battery that has a range of 800km and recharges in 8 minutes.

  15. Some discoveries and inventions are banned because our owners don't want us to reach some level of technology .
    I'm talking about people who were called Elohims , Gods in ancient times .
    Why , after the first mission on the moon we had other missions yes but were just quick , scoop some minerals off the surface and leave ?
    Ever wondered what's on the far side of the Moon ?
    We are just a genetic experiment going on and we are not allowed to go too far.

  16. I have graphene infused, or however they are made, gravel tires for my bike. They are pretty awesome. They flex around corners until a certain point where they immediately stiffen and give amazing grip on the road. They also seem to be far more reliable against the nasty thorns we get all over the place in Phoenix. In comparison to my rear tire, a Kenda Small Block 8 – which is a highly rated and pretty expensive tire I have had less than one thorn get through my front graphene tire and dozens have gotten through the Kenda. I will be getting the graphene tires from now on they are pretty amazing and in this case $20 cheaper than the Kenda as well.

  17. Its 2019, and although it doesn't seem like it, graphene batteries are in development, and are going to be implemented in smartphones in the next 1-2 years. They can have 6000Mah while charging in 13 minutes! It can also impact the electric car space

  18. I’m curious this combined with gorilla glass wouldn’t it make it completely indestructible man someone needs to step up and do some testing.

  19. the graphene scam – it's really very fine particles of 'carbon' from numerous sources like coal, charcoal, graphite etc held together by other materials or impregnated into other materials like rubber! Given this, graphene can only be as strong as the material holding it all together! Nothing new here!

  20. Because untill we get rid of rapist, murdering, thieves, that have been running the world we regular people cannot have nice things.

  21. 2019 is almost over graphene….??!!
    Where you at mister!!
    I need my 1lb car with 1000hp!!
    And clothes soo light I feel naked….

    I’ll be here in 80yrs waiting for that.. 🙄😴

  22. It's September 2019, so where is graphene in everyday products. And please don't talk to be about graphene in spaceships and all that because that's of no use to me.

  23. I bet a small sheet of graphene blowing around in a light breeze at 1 atom thick would be so sharp, it would cut your arm off at the slightest touch. Nobody ever discusses the safety aspects of such an incredible material.

  24. What is the environmental impact of graphene? What kinds of processed are required to produce it, in a general way? Pretty interesting stuff!

  25. Samsung is already start working on this graphene battery and they will use this battery in year 2021 in their mobile phone .

  26. If you didn’t know the price of lithium aa&aaa battery’s are coming down because the new grapheme battery’s are on there way and the old lithium battery will be opsolete check it out

  27. Hey check out aerogel a very light weight material that can absorb a ton of heat.if you burn it with flamethrower on one side the other side will be just warm.

  28. You can't possibly compare this to plastic! Can plastic be used as an interface between flesh and machine? Can it be used to turn a cars windshield into bulletproof armor, and an electrical panel that would charge batteries? Could you make a pair of glasses out of it that would allow you to see perfectly in the darkest environments? Answer, NO! But Graphene can do this and so much more, comparing this to plastic is just ridiculous!

  29. It's not just a new material. They sew it into their clothes. It powers their city, their tech… their weapons

    Graphene is vibranium for human for real

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