News
01/02/2012

UOW researchers develop ‘bullet proof’ graphene

UOW researchers have used graphene to develop a new composite material which can produce the toughest fibres to date- even tougher than spider silk and Kevlar!

Graphene, the latest discovery in the nano world of carbon, has proven to be an amazing building block for advanced materials. The new graphene composite can be wet-spun into fibres with potential applications in bullet-proof vests and reinforcements for advanced composite materials.

As published today in Nature Communications, researchers from the UOW-based Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) have shown that graphene can work just as carbon nanotubes, a more common toughening agent, in polymer composites. It is also a much cheaper material and can be produced easily in large quantities.

ACES Senior Researcher and paper co-author Professor Geoff Spinks said the ratio of grapheme to carbon nanotubes was a key factor in the development of the composite.

“Quite surprisingly, we found that a ‘magic mixture’ of equal parts carbon nanotubes and graphene added to the polymer gave exceptionally high toughness,” he said.

“Fibres made from other combinations of these materials were not especially tough at all.”

Professor Spinks explained that the super tough fibres can be produced easily by a wet-spinning method and can be readily up-scaled. In this case, fibres were spun by collaborators at the Centre for Bio-Artificial Muscle at Hanyang University, Korea.

ACES Executive Research Director Professor Gordon Wallace said such international collaborations were critical for effective and efficient progress at the cutting edge of science.

“This particular project benefitted from the supply of the graphene building blocks using a process invented here in Australia and further developed using the skills and facilities available through the Australian National Fabrication Facility- Materials node,” he said.

The team has also supplied graphene materials to other research activities in the USA, Korea and France.

By: Natalie Foxon, ACES.

UOW IN THE NEWS

Australia’s Constitution works ...
The Conversation | 7 July
3D-Printed Flutes Can Pro...
Gizmodo Australia | 7 July
Indigenous students aiming f...
ABC South East NSW | 6 July
The NZ standards for junk fo...
B&T | 3 July
Western Sydney buildings w...

Domain | 3 July
The 7 Ways 3-D Printing Is G...

Mic | 2 July
Wollongong Uni team’s new ...
The Australian | 2 July
A better anticorruption agenc...
Jakarta Post | 1 July
To listen, not just to hear
ABC Radio National | 1 July
What stone tools found in so...
The Conversation | 1 July

How might gay marriage liber...
ABC Radio National | 30 June
Contain yourself
The West Australian | 30 June
New resource for dementia-frien...
Australian Ageing Agenda | 30 June
Canberra workers split the he...
Sydney Morning Herald | 28 June
Why should we care about inequality?
Sydney Morning Herald | 28 June
Lifting governance will earn billions
AFR | 28 June
A horrible choice
The Economist | 27 June
US Hostage Policy Shift to Em...
Sputnik News | 26 June
Repower Shoalhaven renew...
Sydney Morning Herald | 25 June
Couples Are Getting Paid To ...
Huffington Post | 24 June
South Africa is failing to addre...
The Conversation | 24 June
If you don’t like looking at wind ...
The Conversation | 23 June
Opinion: The thought that work...
Courier Mail | 21 June
Does Australia's Steel Industry...
AFR | 19 June
Scientist Nathanial Harris raps ...
Sydney Morning Herald | 19 June
Infrastructure investment must ...
AFR | 18 June
More media coverage

  • Professor Geoff Spinks, Dr Sanjeev Gambhir and Professor Gordon Wallace with the new composite material.