Graphene: One of the most versatile materials

Graphene is a variant of carbon with only one atom thick, but surprisingly strong and flexible. Among the most recent applications of this material are resistance to fire weapons .

And the property of separating protons from electrons, crucial for clean energy.

One of the most versatile materials already discovered, graphene opens up so many possibilities of use that it is difficult to spend a long time without any important news about its use.

One of the most recent studies of this super-strong and ultra-thin form of carbon with only one atom thick, published in the journal Science , is of particular interest to the military and security forces .


Jae-Hwang Lee and colleagues at Rice University in Houston conducted ballistics tests.

To measure the reaction of the material to shots with silica microbeads at a speed of 3 kilometers per second.

Three times that of a bullet fired by an M16 rifle . The scientists used between 10 and 100 overlapping layers of graphene.

That together they are not thicker than a strand of hair.

And they calculated the speed difference of the bullets before and after hitting the target, corresponding to the force received by the substance.

“If a material causes a large change in the kinetic energy of a projectile, it may be more advantageous for use in bullet shields,” says Lee .

Currently a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst .

This is what happened: the graphene layers dissipated the kinetic energy stretching into a cone.

After the point of impact and then they split in various directions.

Even with breakage, the strength of the material was twice as great as that of kevlar , the synthetic fiber used in bulletproof vests , and ten times greater than that of steel.

It is important to underline that the experience was made with layers that, together, had a minimal thickness.

Adding hundreds of other layers should prevent the fissures caused by the shots from spreading, the researchers imagine.


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