A team of Australian scientists has used soybean oil to make graphene – the strongest and thinnest type of carbon with good electrical conductivity.
Graphene, deemed recently as a wonder material, has potential applications in a wide array of sectors such as electronics, biomedicine and aerospace.
The scientific team led by CSIRO, Australia, has developed a new method of graphene production termed “GraphAir,” which uses ambient environmental conditions to grow graphene films. This process deviates from more conventional techniques that require high energy and extensive vacuum. These conventional methods are costly, which has, to date, prevented good commercial success for graphene.
In the new method, soybean oil was used as a precursor to develop graphene using a one-step process. According to Dr. Dong Han Seo, the CSIRO scientist involved in the study, the new technique results in graphene with good and comparable properties compared to graphene developed using conventional processes.
The team has also experimented with leftover cooking and waste oils in their research.
The scientists envisage multiple applications for the new technology, including improving battery performance and developing inexpensive and efficient solar panels, to name a few.