A yarn of graphene

Strong, stretchable fibers made of graphene oxide can be knotted like yarn. Credit: Terrones group/Penn State

Researches at Penn State University have found a way to create a yarn made of graphene fibres, making it as strong as one made of Kevlar.

The yarn is made by graphene oxide and it is possible to remove the oxide thus creating a very good conductor of electricity. By drugging it with silver nano rods one can get the same conductivity of a copper cable, but at much reduced weight (copper weights over 8 times more than carbon). This means reduced cost for power lines.

The yarn is created through a process where a thin film of graphene oxide (produced through chemical exfoliation of graphite into graphene flakes that is mixed with water and then centrifuged creating a slurry) is cut into narrow strips and wound with an automatic finer scroller. The resulting thread can be knotted and stretched without fracturing, like a normal yarn.

Since the main component is graphite that is cheaply available the end result can be had a very low cost. This opens the door to a variety of applications where having a light and strong material is interesting.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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