Graphene was first isolated in 2004 by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at Manchester University. It is a single-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms bonded in a hexagonal structure, either freely suspended or adhered to a substrate. In its purest form, graphene possesses an unsurpassed combination of electrical, mechanical, and thermal properties, which gives it the potential to replace existing materials in a wide range of applications and, in the long term, to enable new applications. In 2014 a $100m National Graphene Institute was established at the University of Manchester followed by a $100m Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre to support applied research and development in partnership with industry.
Graphene is often produced as dispersion in a polymer matrix that could enhance its electrical conductivity and could be used as a lightning strike protection coating. In this talk, achievements but also challenges will be reported in the production of graphene, modelling, and characterisation, with some thoughts on future needs, developments, and prospects for engineering applications. Applications of graphene that have been proposed or are under development will be discussed, in areas including electronics, biological engineering, filtration, photovoltaics, energy storage and lightweight composites used in modern aircraft construction.
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