• Graphene not yet living up to its promise

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The Financial Times has run an interesting article on how the sheen appears to be coming off graphene. The relatively new material promised to be stronger than steel while being light and flexible, as well as conductive, and was described as a ‘wonder material’ capable of ushering in something of a new industrial revolution. In the power industry, one tested application was as a coating on condensers to improve their thermal efficiency, with the potential to increase overall plant efficiency by a substantial 2-3%. The problem is that the material is proving reluctant to bond to others, and although some commercial applications have been found (for instance in sunglasses, fishing rods, bicycle tyres and some inks), the Financial Time’s survey of a handful of graphene-based companies shows that most have seen their share price drop substantially since launching. The future is therefore looking somewhat doubtful for graphene, though it may be that some additional breakthrough may revive the wonder, or that expectations in regards to timeframes have been too high, as an entertaining article in the New Yorker points out.