Nanopinion: What does ”graphene” really look like and why is it not ”carbon nanotubes”

A new Nanopinion highlighting graphene is now available on the EUON website. You can read the introduction below and the full-text here.

During the last few years, there has been a continuous and steady increase in the industrial translation of graphene and various related 2D materials. Many different industries and application areas have moved forward from the evaluation stage of graphene materials to the phase of adoption and industrial development, closer to large-scale product manufacturing. Some examples include fabrics, batteries, metal alloys, concrete and other construction materials, and different types of composites used in automotive and aerospace engineering.

At the same time, recent press releases and some health authority advisories have highlighted the need to guarantee that the degree of potential health risks from using graphene in various marketed products is clear to the regulators and consequently to consumers. In a lot of cases, parallels are drawn to some perceived risks from different types of graphene materials and those identified for specific types of carbon nanotubes. Such parallels are in almost all cases inaccurate, and in many cases outright false.

In this Nanopinion, we aim to offer clarification on some fundamental understanding about “graphene”. In particular, we wish to emphasise that “graphene” as a single type of material does not really exist, nor is it used as such in industrial applications. Moreover, we wish to explain why graphene-related materials are really not the same materials as carbon nanotubes. While both consist of only carbon, just like pencils or diamond stones – both are made of carbon atoms arranged differently in space!

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