Since Graphene’s discovery in 2004, it has been touted as the material of the future, a material so revolutionary it could potentially be utilised by a wide range of industries; spanning from the electrical industry to the aerospace industry. This is all due to its unique properties e.g. being 200 times stronger than steel whilst being incredibly flexible and in different applications up to 1000 times lighter than paper.

The way graphene achieves its mind-blowing properties can be acquitted to its chemical structure, though it just a thin sheet of graphite, unlike other elements and materials, graphene is structured in 2d layers where each layer is only one atom thick. Within layers, carbon atoms are bonded covalently to three more carbon atoms surrounding them; whilst being arranged in a hexagonal fashion. Hence giving graphene immense strength and stability (It is even stronger than Diamond). Graphene’s Carbon atoms also have free delocalised electrons making graphene the most effective material at conducting electricity and heat that humans have discovered.

Graphene was extracted in 2004 at the university of Manchester by two researchers; Anare Geim and Kostya Novoselov. Though people knew of the material and its properties from the 1940’s this was the first time that it had been extracted.

At present, graphene is used as a coating for aerospace equipment and high-grade tough suites & helmets, due to its excellent heat dissipation and distribution of impact force. Even electronics companies intend to implement graphene-based transistors and batteries in to their products in the near future, this is great because it could lead to silicon being phased-out in favours of a more durable & conductive material as well as how it could lead to supercapacitors (graphene batteries) being created, which would charge much faster and degrade much less than current rechargeable batteries. However, these innovations are currently plagued by the extremely high cost to machine and manufacture graphene to a consistent useable quality, as it currently costs $100 to create a gram of graphene.

In addition to this, once these costs reduce and consistency of manufacturing increases, graphene may be used to create structures that span between Earth and outer Space!

Though in 2020 graphene is not widely used and reserved for very limited scientific research, if discoveries into the material continue and production costs decrease, graphene may play a large and significant role in society in years to come.