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Water sees right through graphene
Date:1/23/2012

faces (most metals and silicon) where interaction with water is dominated by weak van der Waals forces, and not for materials like glass, where wettability is dominated by strong chemical bonding, the team reported.

But such applications as condensation heat transfer -- integral to heating, cooling, dehumidifying, water harvesting and many industrial processes -- may benefit greatly from the discovery, according to the paper. Copper is commonly used for its high thermal conductivity, but it corrodes easily. The team coated a copper sample with a single layer of graphene and found the subnanometer barrier protected the copper from oxidation with no impact on its interaction with water; in fact, it enhanced the copper's thermal effectiveness by 30 to 40 percent.

"The finding is interesting from a fundamental point of view as well as for practical uses," Ajayan said. "Graphene could be one of a kind as a coating, allowing the intrinsic physical nature of surfaces, such as wetting and optical properties, to be retained while altering other specific functionalities like conductivity."


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Contact: David Ruth
david@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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