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article imageScalable manufacturing using graphene

By Tim Sandle     Apr 19, 2018 in Science
Boston - Scientists have worked out a continuous manufacturing process that produces long strips of high-quality graphene. This process will aid producers in achieving scalable filter manufacturing.
Graphene has a range of applications, both current and with an eye to the future. These include highly conductive electronics, flexible display screens, and even a skin patch for the treatment of diabetes. Furthermore, graphene-based electrodes have been successfully implanted in the brain and can interface with neurones, which may help people with epilepsy. Another area of interest is with filtration.
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a process for producing high-quality graphene that is designed for use in membrane filters. These filters can be used to filter and capture salts, nanoparticles, proteins and so on, in each case leaving the filtrate free of the target contaminant. In terms of applications, such filters could assist with the desalination of water and in biotechnological applications, as with the biological separation of molecules.
Graphene is a carbon-based material. Light-weight, transparent, very strong (200 times stronger than steel), nearly transparent and highly conductive. Graphene, in its basic form, is a one-atom thick sheet of carbon.
Commenting on the new membrane filter development, lead researcher Professor John Hart states: "We believe this is the first study that has tailored the manufacturing of graphene toward membrane applications, which require the graphene to be seamless, cover the substrate fully, and be of high quality."
The new process involves fabricating graphene, from chemical vapor deposition, and then creating the membranes. Following this, a lab-scale process precisely forming tiny nano-scale holes. The size of the 'nanopores' can be designed to filter out specific molecules. The video below describes the process in more detail:
The next step is to scale-up and commercialize the process. The research findings are published in the journal Applied Materials and Interfaces, with the paper titled "A Scalable Route to Nanoporous Large-Area Atomically Thin Graphene Membranes by Roll-to-Roll Chemical Vapor Deposition and Polymer Support Casting."
In other graphene news, Australian researchers have developed a new filter that can remove organic matter from water intended to be of drinking water quality. In trials, 99 percent of the impurities can be removed through the filter process. See the Digital Journal article "Making drinking water safer with new graphene filter."
More about Graphene, Ultrathin membranes, Scalable manufacturing, Manufacturing
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