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MIT creates 3D printed graphene that’s lighter than air, 10X stronger than steel


NewsHubMIT researchers have been able to use graphene to print 3D objects with a geometry that has 10 times the strength of steel but only a fraction of the wieght.
The discovery using the strongest material there is has the potential to enable lightweight products for airplanes, cars, buildings and even filtration devices because of the printed objects’ porous designs.
In its typical two-dimensional, flat state graphene is only one atom thick, so like a sheet of paper it is flimsy and easily torn. But, graphene also conducts electricity efficiently and is nearly transparent.
Until now, researchers struggled to use graphene’s two-dimensional strength in three-dimensional materials.
This illustration shows the simulation results of tensile and compression tests on 3D graphene.
Because of the extraordinary thinness, “they are not very useful for making 3D materials that could be used in vehicles, buildings, or devices,” Markus Buehler, the head of MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), said in a statement. “What we’ve done is to realize the wish of translating these 2D materials into three-dimensional structures. ”
The researchers created the new graphene structures using a proprietary, multi-material 3D printer; the structures have a “sponge-like” configuration with a density of just 5%.
Combining heat and pressure, the MIT researchers were able to compress small flakes of graphene to produce a strong, stable structure “whose form resembles that of some corals and microscopic creatures called diatoms.

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