A New Class of Composite Materials - Graphene-based Composite Materials
Professor Rodney Ruoff and colleagues at Northwestern University and Purdue University have developed a process that promises to lead to the creation of a new class of composite materials - graphene-based materials. They reported the results of their research in Nature, 442 (2006) 282-286. This team has overcome the difficulties of yielding a uniform distribution of graphene-based sheets in a polymer matrix. Such composites can be readily processed using standard industrial technologies such as moulding and hot-pressing. The technique should be applicable to a wide variety of polymers. The graphene composites may compete with carbon nanotube-based materials in terms of mechanical properties. This new class of composites may stimulate the applied mechanics community to study the fundamental reinforcing mechanisms of graphene sheets from both experimental and theoretical approaches.