Campus News
Published: 1 February, 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.

Published: 1 February, 2012

Contact us

+61 2 4221 4227 | media@uow.edu.au 

Share

UOW IN THE NEWS

New superconductor-powered ...
Science Alert | 27 Nov
Graduate schools give UK the ...
The Australian | 27 Nov
Uncapped student numbers: Au...
Times Higher Ed | 26 Nov
Green living: Gizmag's Top 10...
Gizmag | 24 Nov
Cigarettes and junk food domin...
Sydney Morning Herald | 22 Nov
3D printing technology a medi...
Herald Sun | 21 Nov
Schoolies don't necessarily wa...
ABC Illawarra | 20 Nov
Time to meet the body farmers...
Daily Telegraph | 20 Nov 
Experts fear a European 'right...
Sydney Morning Herald | 19 Nov
Motorcyclists can't stand the h...
ABC Online | 19 Nov
Ozone hole linked to extreme e...
Radio NZ | 18 Nov
Indigenous Australia’s diverse ...
The Conversation | 18 Nov
The ozone hole leaves a lasting...
The Conversation | 18 Nov
What 200 calories worth of you...
Sydney Morning Herald | 17 Nov
What’s killing Tassie devils if it i...
The Conversation | 17 Nov
New South Wales is open for ...
Khaleej Times | 16 Nov
Green building scheme review ...
The Conversation | 13 Nov
More media coverage