Scientists at the University of Technology, Sydney, have developed a composite material based on graphite that is as thin as paper and 10 times stronger than steel.
Supervised by Prof Guoxiu Wang, the researchers developed samples of the so-called Graphene Paper (GP), which they believe has the potential to revolutionise the automotive, aviation and electrical industries.
The GP itself comprises graphene nanosheet stacks of monolayer hexagonal carbon lattices that, when placed in perfectly arranged laminar structures, give them exceptional thermal, electrical and mechanical properties.
Compared with steel, the prepared GP is six times lighter, five to six times lower density, two times harder with 10 times higher tensile strength and 13 times higher bending rigidity.
Lead researcher Ali Reza Ranjbartoreh said GP could find use in the automotive and aviation industries, allowing the development of lighter and stronger cars and aircraft that use less fuel, generate less pollution and are cheaper to run.
He said large aerospace companies such as Boeing have already started to replace metals with carbon fibres and carbon-based materials, and GP, with its incomparable mechanical properties, would be the next material for them to explore.