‘Green’ process promises pristine graphene in bulk using waste food, plastic and other materials
A new process introduced by the Rice University lab of chemist James Tour can turn bulk quantities of just about any carbon source into valuable graphene flakes. The process is quick and cheap; Tour said the “flash graphene” technique can convert a ton of coal, food waste or plastic into graphene for a fraction of the cost used by other bulk graphene-producing methods.
As reported in Nature, flash graphene is made in 10 milliseconds by heating carbon-containing materials to 3,000 Kelvin (about 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit). The source material can be nearly anything with carbon content. Food waste, plastic waste, petroleum coke, coal, wood clippings and biochar are prime candidates, Tour said. “With the present commercial price of graphene being $67,000 to $200,000 per ton, the prospects for this process look superb,” he said.
Atom-level simulations by Rice researcher and co-author Ksenia Bets confirmed that temperature is key to the material’s rapid formation.“It is amazing how state-of-the-art computer simulations, notoriously slow for observing such kinetics, reveal the details of high temperature-modulated atomic movements and transformation,” Bets said.
– See more at Rice News