Graphene-based composites


Graphene has attracted tremendous research interest in recent years. The scaled-up and reliable production of graphene derivatives, such as graphene oxide (GO), offers a wide range of possibilities to develop and product related material and graphene-based composites (GbC) for various applications. In particular, GbCs are currently the only application of graphene already commercialized on large scale. The number of products containing these composites is increasing continuously, from tennis rackets to bicycles, to skis. However, the performance of such products is not comparable to the one of pristine graphene sheets, measured at the nanoscale, that easily outperform well-established materials such as steel, silicon or copper. A key reason for this difference in properties is that it is not yet fully understood how 2D-based composites work at the nanoscale and, more importantly, what is the ultimate performance (mechanical, electrical etc.) that can be achieved when they are included into a bulk material. More than ten thousand papers were published on graphene composite materials in 2014. In these papers, the beneficial effect of graphene as an additive has been demonstrated for a great variety of bulk systems, but it is still not clear how extensively graphene will be used in future industrial applications, despite the importance of today’s carbon fillers. To understand if, and where, graphene and related 2D materials can be truly competitive at the industrial level a strong combination of processing techniques, prototyping, characterization and modelling is needed.


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