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Nature Materials study: Graphene 'invisible' to water
Date:1/23/2012

searchers verified their findings with molecular dynamics modeling as well as classical theoretical modeling.

"We found that van der Waals forces are not disrupted by graphene. This effect is an artifact of the extreme thinness of graphenewhich is only about 0.3 nanometers thick," Koratkar said. "Nothing can rival the thinness of graphene. Because of this, graphene is the ideal material for wetting angle transparency."

"Moreover, graphene is strong and flexible, and it does not easily crack or break apart," he said. "Additionally, it is easy to coat a surface with graphene using chemical vapor deposition, and it is relatively uncomplicated to deposit uniform and homogeneous graphene coatings over large areas. Finally, graphene is chemically inert, which means a graphene coating will not oxidize away. No single material system can provide all of the above attributes that graphene is able to offer."

A practical application of this new discovery is to coat copper surfaces used in dehumidifiers. Because of its exposure to water, copper in dehumidifier systems oxidizes, which in turn decreases its ability to transfer heat and makes the entire device less efficient. Coating the copper with graphene prevents oxidation, the researchers said, and the operation of the device is unaffected because graphene does not change the way water interacts with copper. This same concept may be applied to improve the ability of heat pipes to dissipate heat from computer chips, Koratkar said.

"It's an interesting idea. The graphene doesn't cause any significant change to the wettability of copper, and at the same time it passivates the copper surface and prevents it from oxidizing," he said.


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Contact: Michael Mullaney
mullam@rpi.edu
518-276-6161
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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