Stacking two atomic layers of Graphene on top of one another can transform an otherwise foil-light material in to bulletproof armor upon impact. The new material called Diamene also demonstrates unique conductive properties that may implicate it’s use in adaptive power armor.
The study was conducted a while ago by the City University of New York and published in Nature Nanotechnology. Any object or person that requires bullet proof protection while still remaining highly mobile could possibly utilize this material for defensive purposes. So it’s doubtful as to when or whether or not any such applications would ever be made public
Scientists from the Universitys advanced science research center ran a number of tests on Graphene to figure out if it could be made even more durable upon impact. Graphene is well renown for being extremely durable and light, and so to improve this feature could eventually result in the development of bullet proof armored clothing.
Through trial and error scientists eventually discovered that if you stack two one atom thick layers of graphene on top of one another they begin to assume different properties similar to how advanced metamaterials change function by altering their shape. Except in this case bi-later Graphene transforms in to a material that can stop a bullet at two atoms thick. Which is extremely impressive.
Furthermore, conversion from Graphene to Diamene upon impact results in a sudden reduction to electrical current that could potentially inform a haptic feedback suit to alert the wearer when and where they’ve been struck. Graphenes unique conductive qualities are certainly not new to science, other researchers have for example demonstrated it’s use in solar power and battery lifespan.
“This is the thinnest film with the stiffness and hardness of diamond ever created,” said Elisa Riedo, professor of physics at the ASRC and the project’s lead researcher. “Previously, when we tested graphite or a single atomic layer of graphene, we would apply pressure and feel a very soft film. But when the graphite film was exactly two-layers thick, all of a sudden we realized that the material under pressure was becoming extremely hard and as stiff, or stiffer, than bulk diamond.”
Scientists ran some atomistic computer simulations to replicate a number of possible scenarios that could result from pressurizing Graphene configured in different ways. They discovered that this carbon composite becomes impenetrable when you stack two one atom thick layers on top of each other, suggesting that Diamene is some kind of meta-material, or at very least, something resembling one.
To confirm their mathematical findings scientists applied concentrated pressure to the bi-layer graphene on silicon carbide substrates and analyzed the results through an atomic force microscope. They found complete agreement between calculations and observation also noting that this unique property does not continue after 2 atomic layers.
“Graphite and diamonds are both made entirely of carbon, but the atoms are arranged differently in each material, giving them distinct properties such as hardness, flexibility and electrical conduction,” Bongiorno said. “Our new technique allows us to manipulate graphite so that it can take on the beneficial properties of a diamond under specific conditions.”
The next step for researchers involves stabilizing the conversion for large scale use.
In the same year another Graphene composite was found to have similiar properties. Combining Graphene with other compounds to form unique hybrids capable of performing better than their ordinary counterparts is regular practice today.
Graphene also demonstratres meta-material like qualities on it’s own for example, scientists figured out that if you trim nano-ribbons of Graphene you can achieve different “quantum states” useful to the emerging field of quantum computing.
3D Printed Graphene may be the future of nano-scale manufacturing, it turns out that Graphene supercapacitors are ten times more effective when they are 3D printed.