The University of Technology in Sydney recently unveiled a new type of graphene nano paper that is ten times stronger than a sheet of steel. Composed of processed and pressed graphite, the material is as thin as a sheet of paper yet incredible durable — this strength and thinness gives it remarkable applications in many industries, and it is completely recyclable to boot.

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To make graphene paper, raw graphite is milled and purified using a chemical bath, which reshapes its structure, allowing it to be pressed into thin sheets. These graphene sheets boast excellent thermal, electrical and mechanical properties – including excellent hardness and flexibility.

Graphene offers many advantages over steel – it’s two times as hard, six times lighter and ten times higher in tensile strength. This translates into a next-gen material that could immensely benefit the automotive and aviation industries. Lighter planes and cars use less fuel and create less pollution. Companies such as Boeing have already begun using carbon-based materials, so graphene paper would be the next logical step.

Raw graphite is a relatively plentiful material in Australia, where the research is being conducted. The researchers welcome the industry boost that increased demand for raw graphite for graphene paper would provide.

+ University of Technology Sydney

Lead photo © Lisa Aliosio