Graphene gets sticky, thanks Van der Waals

Graphene gets sticky, thanks Van der Waals

Summary: Graphene can add unusual stickiness to its list of amazing properties. The two dimensional wonder material, set to take over the world thanks to its conductivity, strength, stiffness, thinness and so on (as long as all our research institutions can get themselves in gear), has also been shown to have "ultrastrong adhesion".

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TOPICS: Graphene
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Graphene can add unusual stickiness to its list of amazing properties. The two dimensional wonder material, set to take over the world thanks to its conductivity, strength, stiffness, thinness and so on (as long as all our research institutions can get themselves in gear), has also been shown to have "ultrastrong adhesion".

According to University of Colorado, Boulder researchers writing in Nature Nanomaterials, it is graphene’s unusual flexibility that gives it a useful quirk. They explain in the abstract: "the mechanical behaviour of graphene is also strongly influenced by the Van der Waals force. For example, this force clamps graphene samples to substrates, and also holds together the individual graphene sheets in multilayer samples."

Testing the material, the researchers discovered that sheets of graphene adhere to a silicon oxide substrate more like a liquid than another solid material. This, they say, is likely due to the carbon structure’s amazing flexibility, which allows it to mould itself to just about any surface.

Assistant Professor Scott Bunch of the CU-Boulder mechanical engineering department and lead study author is quoted in the university announcement: "The real excitement for me is the possibility of creating new applications that exploit the remarkable flexibility and adhesive characteristics of graphene and devising unique experiments that can teach us more about the nanoscale properties of this amazing material."

There is more info here in the university’s press announcement.

Topic: Graphene

Lucy Sherriff

About Lucy Sherriff

Lucy Sherriff is a journalist, science geek and general liker of all things techie and clever. In a previous life she put her physics degree to moderately good use by writing about science for that other tech website, The Register. After a bit of a break, it seemed like a good time to start blogging about weird quantum stuff for ZDNet. And so here we are.

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