Graphene in construction

Graphene material of the future

The Nobel Prize for physics in 2010 he went to Konstantin Novoselov e Andre Geim of the University of Manchester for the discovery of a new two-dimensional material: the graphene.

It is a material formed by a single layer of atoms of carbon and which has remarkable properties. Thanks to these, graphene can rightfully be considered one of the materials of the future, to be used also in construction with excellent results.

How graphene is produced

Graphene comes from graphite, that of the tips of the pencils.

Its discoverers have obtained it using a simple piece of adhesive tape thus reducing the carbon to a very thin flake consisting of only one atom.

Today graphene is produced in laboratory, subjecting the graphite to a complex process that starts from the treatment with an acid solution. Subsequently we move on to oxidation and then to a mechanical exfoliation or an exfoliation in the liquid phase, until the original substance is reduced to very thin sheets.

It can be said, in fact, that graphene is today the thinnest material that has ever existed.

Graphene Batteries - Pinterest
In Italy, one of the major producers of graphene is the startup Graphene-xt
This company produces graphene for a variety of uses including sensors, paints, coatings and membranes.

The properties of graphene

Graphene as mentioned has considerable property, physical, mechanical, electronic and thermal.

First of all, despite being the thinnest material ever invented and transparent, it is a lot resistant, but at the same time also a lot fragile, for which this does not allow to have very large sheets or thicknesses useful for making large structures that require a strong tensile strength.

Graphene-based hair dye - Pinterest
This material has a great however flexibility.

It’s a conductor better than copper from a point of view electric and better than any other material in regards to heat.

Graphene possible applications

The applications of graphene are many and in various fields, from sports, to design, to technology and nanotechnology, up to fashion.

Graphene sheets thanks to them transparency can be used for making touch screen and solar panels.

Thanks to its electronic properties it can be used in the realization of drums flow and lithium ion batteries.

Graphene Filters for Drinking Water - Pinterest
Furthermore, when mixed with other materials such as plastic, it can make them conductive and more resistant.

In the future we will also be able to solve the problems of shortage of water resources thanks to graphene-based filters, which will allow the desalinizzazione sea ​​water by reverse osmosis.

In fashion, are produced jackets with the help of this material that makes them light and waterproof. However, nothing suggests that in the future graphene may have other applications for the production of hi-tech clothes.

Graphene and sport

Nello sport graphene was used to make a racket special which is lighter and easier to handle. Also in the cycling there has been an application of this material mixed with tires, again to ensure lightness, greater grip and strong resistance.

Finally, even in the helmets and in gym shoes elements in graphene have been inserted.

Uses of graphene in construction

Also in building the use of this new material could bring many innovations in the future.

There are already various experiments that have been successful.
Among these, there is research conducted by Columbia Engineering that involved the production of one light bulb miniaturized with graphene filament.

Reinforced concrete

Just recently in Great Britain The first graphene concrete slab, the Concretene.

This material would be about 30% stronger than traditional concrete.
In this way it would be possible to use a smaller quantity of material in the structures with a considerable reduction in construction times, costs and ecological footprint.

Another invention is that of a additive based on graphene which makes the concrete more flexible 45%. This is a research done in Spain this time from Graphenano.

Italian research

In Italy a project called Cemphene, coordinated by Italcementi, to make cements photocatalytic smog-eating based on graphene, thanks to the optical properties of this material. Self-cleaning cements will be added to improve their performance.

Graphene concrete is more durable - Pinterest
Finally, graphene concrete will also exploit the conductivity of this material for the construction of systems of warm up floor or wall very performing. In this case, in fact, by transforming electrical energy into thermal, it will be a very thin layer of graphene cement placed under the flooring to guarantee thermal comfort.

Graphene will also be used for heating - Pinterest
It is always an Italian research that will lead to space and cost savings in the constructions of the future.

Long lasting asphalt with graphene

Still, in 2019 some researchers built a Bergamo 1 km at Street mixing theasphalt with different quantities of graphene, and dividing it into blocks of 250 m in order to study the behavior of the different samples.

The result is a material that lasts longer, with consequent savings in costs and first-use materials.

Innovative steels

I’m still studying steels treated with graphene, which will have better anticorrosive characteristics than today, with a longer life in this case too.

Graphene increases the flexibility and durability of steels - Pinterest
Thanks to this combination, moreover, the steel cables will be more flexible and robust.

Graphene finishes for the restoration

Another possible use for graphene is the production of lime mortars which would lead to types of plasters for the restoration of ancient facades, the duration of which would be increased and wear problems solved.

Graphene plasters can be employed in restoration - Pinterest

Other applications of graphene in construction

We have already mentioned the use for the Photovoltaic cells, but the electrical conductivity of this material will certainly make it suitable for the production of LED high efficiency.

Graphene can be used for photovoltaic cells - Pinterest
Thanks then to his impermeability, it will be able in the future to replace the materials used in construction for this characteristic.

Graphene paints last longer - Pinterest
the paints, produced with a mixture containing graphene, in addition to being resistant to water, they can also be much more resistant to corrosion, thanks to the increase in their flexibility, for self-cleaning and long-lasting facades.

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