Researchers make graphene from gum tree bark

Australian and Indian researchers have developed a method to dramatically shrink the cost of making graphene by using eucalyptus trees as raw material.

Researchers from RMIT University and India’s National Institute of Technology, Waranga have succeeded in making grahene from bark.

RMIT’s Professor Suresh Bhargava said: “Eucalyptus bark extract has never been used to synthesise graphene sheets before.

“We are thrilled to find that it not only works, it is in fact a superior method, both in terms of safety and overall cost.”

Graphene is the thinnest and strongest material known, is flexible, transparent and conducts heat and electricity 10 times better than copper.

However it costs US$100 per gram to produce – a cost reduced to just 50 cents under the new process.

Professor Vishnu Shanker from the National Institute of Technology, Warangal, said the ‘green’ chemistry used avoids the use of toxic reagents, potentially opening the door to the application of graphene not only for electronic devices but also biocompatible materials.

Picture: RMIT University

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