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Research: Graphene Properties Change in Humidity

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

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In light of reports of graphite losing its lubricating ability in low humidity conditions, researchers based out of the Queen Mary University of London investigated bi-layer graphene, demonstrating that water seeps between layers in a humid environment.

Graphite’s loss of lubricating ability has been recorded on airplanes flying at high altitudes.

Graphene and Humidity

Graphene, an atom-thin later of carbon, has been touted for its strength and conductivity. Findings demonstrated that water seeps between the layers of bi-layer graphene, which is composed of two sheets of one-atom-thick carbon stacked together. According to the university, material properties largely rely on how the carbon layers interact; when water is introduced, the interaction can change.

Queen Mary University of London

In light of reports of graphite losing its lubricating ability in low humidity conditions, researchers based out of the Queen Mary University of London investigated bi-layer graphene, demonstrating that water seeps between layers in a humid environment.

In the study, researchers found that water forms an atomically thin layer at 22 percent relative humidity, separating graphene layers at 50 percent relative humidity. This finding suggests that layered graphene could exhibit different properties in a humid environment, such as Manchester, where relative humidity hovers at over 80 percent throughout the year, and Tucson, Arizona, where relative humidity can fluctuate from 13 percent during May afternoons and rises to 65 percent on January mornings.

“The critical points, 22 [percent] and 50 per cent relative humidity, are very common conditions in daily life and these points can be easily crossed,” said lead author Yiwei Sun, from Queen Mary's School of Engineering and Materials Science. “Hence, many of the extraordinary properties of graphene could be modified by water in between graphene layers.

“Some graphene-based devices may function to their full capability in dry places while others may do so in humid places. We suggest all experiments on 2D materials should in future record the relative humidity.”

The study was published in Physical Review B. The same effect has been demonstrated in layered graphene.

   

Tagged categories: Aerospace; Coating Materials; Coating Materials; EU; Europe; Graphene; Research and development

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