Scientists Have Turned Soybean Oil Into a Material 200 Times Stronger Than Steel

By: | February 26th, 2017

Image courtesy CSIRO

In a big breakthrough, scientists have turned everyday cooking oil into the wonder material graphene. This technique could help in significantly reducing the cost and complexity of making the pricey nanomaterial.

Graphene, which is a single sheet of carbon atoms, has exceptional properties. It is light but is 200 times stronger than steel, is harder than diamond, is incredibly flexible, and is a better conductor of electricity than copper.

With its amazing qualities, graphene has the potential to be used in many fields like making better electronics, more efficient solar cells, and even medicines. However, making graphene is very difficult and costly.

As per the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), “Until now, the high cost of graphene production has been the major roadblock in its commercialization. Previously, graphene was grown in a highly-controlled environment with explosive compressed gasses, requiring long hours of operation at high temperatures and extensive vacuum processing.”

Now a team of Australian scientists has discovered a cheaper way to manufacture graphene using cheap soybean cooking oil in normal air conditions.

Zhao Jun Han, one of the researchers from Australia’s CSIRO, said, “This ambient-air process for graphene fabrication is fast, simple, safe, potentially scalable, and integration-friendly. Our unique technology is expected to reduce the cost of graphene production and improve the uptake in new applications.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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