Graphene’s strong adhesion force may open new application possibilities

Already considered to be the most promising nanomaterial out there, graphene just got even more interesting, as a research team from the University of Colorado Boulder discovered it’s remarkably potent adhesion qualities.

Comparable to solid-liquid adhesion

The new findings in the journal Nature Nanotechnology show that graphene’s extreme flexibility allows it to conform to even the smallest uneveness of a substrate. The scientists measured the adhesion forces between graphene and a glass plate using a pressurised blister test and found an adhesion energy of 0.45 ± 0.02 J m−2 for monolayer graphene, which is comparable to solid–liquid adhesion energies.

Van der Waals forces

The high adhesion energies are mostly due to the Van der Waals forces that play an increasingly important role as mechanical structures enter the nanoscale regime. Graphene’s mechanical properties are strongly influenced by these forces, which not only cause it to clamp to substrates but also bind together individual graphene sheets.

Easier to apply

According to the researchers this discovery shows that applications in which it is necessary for graphene to stick to something might be much easier to realise than previously assumed. In such applications an understanding of graphene’s way of interacting with a surface are vital to use it efficiently.

So I guess we might consider this a next step in graphene’s surprisingly long way of world conquest.

© Jorn van Dooren |

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