But Will it Blend?

MIT Researchers Design Incredibly Light and Strong 3D Graphene

3D Graphene

3D Graphene is a super strong material made from compressed and fused flakes of graphene, tested by MIT researchers using 3D printing.

Researchers at MIT have compressed and fused flakes of graphene and created a material which is ten times as strong as steel, but just five percent as dense.

Previously, it was difficult to see the possible applications of graphene because the composite is just one atom thick and 2D. But MIT researchers found that when heated and compressed, the graphene formed a shape which was full of holes. The formal name of this shape is “gyroid”.

That’s when the scientists had their “eureka” moment. They realised that perhaps it is the shape of the material — rather than the nature of it — which makes it so strong.

To test out their theory, they 3D printed cubes to represent graphene’s sponge-like configuration. The printed cubes have a peculiar shape but the design offers a large surface area offering low weights but high strength.

These shapes were then compressed to test out their durability. See the dramatic results in the video below:

How Did MIT Researchers Test 3D Graphene?

The 3D printed gyroid forms are magnified a 1,000 times from their original size. But these plastic structures have the same sponge-like shape. For scientific accuracy, they also varied thickness of the shapes. 

Impressively, the researchers also created data models which were able to accurately predict how much pressure the structures could handle before reaching their breaking point.

A thinner-walled structure could hold more pressure and splinter apart slowly. But the thicker print would explode, as you can see in the video. As explained, these thicker prints store deformation energy and then release it all at once.

Although it’s too early to say whether 3D graphene structures are suitable for any real-life applications, the discovery could prove invaluable in the long term. The research team speculates that any material or print could potentially benefit from the shape of 3D graphene.

Source: MIT News

3D graphene