The Challenges Of Producing Graphene In Quantity

We’ve all heard the incredible claims made about graphene and its many promising applications, but so far the wonder-material has been held back by the difficulty of producing it in large quantities. Although small-scale production was demonstrated many years ago using basic Scotch tape, producing grams or even kilograms of it in a scalable industrial process seemed like a pipedream — until recently. As [Tech Ingredients] demonstrates in a new video, the technique of flash Joule heating of carbon may enable industrial graphene production.

The production of this flash graphene (FG) was first demonstrated by Duy X. Luong and colleagues in a 2020 paper in Nature, which describes a fairly straightforward process. In the [Tech Ingredients] demonstration it becomes obvious how easy graphene manufacturing is using this method, requiring nothing more than carbon black as ingredient, along with a capacitor bank, vacuum chamber and a number of reasonably affordable items.

Perhaps best of all is that no refinement or other complicated processes are required to separate the produced graphene from the left-over carbon black and other non-graphene products. Using multiple of these carbon black-filled tubes in parallel, producing graphene could conceivably be scaled up to industrial levels. This would make producing a few kilograms of graphene significantly easier than coating hard drive platters with the substance.

26 thoughts on “The Challenges Of Producing Graphene In Quantity

  1. I don’t understand graphene. Let’s see we have a super inexpensive way to produce tons of the stuff. Ok. It’s super strong for it’s size and weight. Ok. But being 1 atom thick is where that comes from. How would we get it into a shape where it is useful as a 3 dimensional object without just ending up with graphite?

    I guess I can picture it being placed in alternating flat and wavy layers like corrugated cardboard. But at an atomic scale?

    1. I don’t think graphene is meant to be used on its own because the bond between graphene layers is so weak, most potential applications I’ve seen mentioned talk about mixing it with concrete, metals, epoxies etc. to enhance their properties.

      all graphite is just layers of graphene, but what (I think) most that talk about it are actually trying to do is create larger sheets of it so they can better take advantage of graphene’s structural properties when mixing it with those things.
      at least that’s what I understand from the few things I’ve read before on the internet lol
      there are other things graphene can be used for but I’m not gonna act like I know a single thing about those

    2. That I think is going to be the ‘challenge’ after being able to create graphene in quantity. Above article/video is just embedding ‘pieces’ of it in another material (in this case epoxy). But if you could get these into ‘sheets’ of pure graphine and be able to roll it into tubes of any length for wires and such, or sheet an aircraft wing with it…. You really have something revolutionary. Of course just with particles of the stuff, think what you could do with electronics on the nano scale…. Or in the medical field for targeted meds delivery, or embedding in bone (no need for a ‘big’ metal rod) after a break (assuming it is inert which I suspect it is)….

      Baby steps first though…. Get it in ‘quantity’ making it ‘available’ at lower prices to more researchers (and home brew researchers like the guy above). Being able to buy a 1 kg jar of graphene for $10 would go a long way :) . Long way from that yet.

  2. Unsubscribe from Tech Ingredients

    We’re sorry to see you go, what is your reason for leaving us?

    Knock knock.
    Who’s there?
    Tech who?
    Tech needs stay the tech outa tech because tech he does not know.

    1. Your channel is better? Care to send a link?
      Since they were genuinely looking for feedback and got a poor joke as a response they likely concluded they were better off without you. One last question, why did you subscribe in the first place?

    1. Making graphene from amorphous carbon from biomass sounds really interesting! There’s an Australian company, First Graphene, who are already producing graphene commercially on the kilogram scale form Sri Lankan graphite.

  3. I have written a method for creating large amounts of a graphene/silicene hybrid material.
    It will potentially be formed by meeting the basic self-organized characteristic of theoretical graphene.

    My project design is a test-bed for multiple technologies and it relies on this new material.
    The design .PDF file shows how to build the test-bed – and is located at:

  4. 55 minutes of talking is the best possible way to show us how it’s done… /s

    Anyone got a normal write-up or diagram of the apparatus or even just a video that’s <5 minutes?

    1. If you watched his video on passive cooling, you know he dives into the details of making the process work, and the common pitfalls. The opposite complaint of a short video of, “he’s just doing what it says in the research paper titled located at says” would be thrown around without it. Its quite interesting to see what researchers don’t write because they assume you know it, or they’re hoping you don’t figure it out to be able to monetize it themselves. Either way, the short attention span complaint falls on deaf ears.

  5. Okay, nice video, I love it. But I cannot unsee that he wears the respirator mask upside down … I could’nt focus on what he was talking about at this point (at least the cameraman could have said something?).

  6. A reason steel is stronger than pure iron is that it’s a solid with impurities that don’t move the same way as the rest of the material (they’re very hard) and because of that when you try to make it change shape they resist. If you used too high of a mass of impurities, it would be too hard to keep everything together. (Except for high entropy alloys which are their own thing) Advanced blade alloys have as far as I know generally had smaller grain sizes than traditional carbon steel, which is good.

    Very small amounts by mass of graphene in this video manage to stiffen some epoxy quite a lot, which seems similar to me.

    Also, I believe just loosely compressing randomly oriented thin flakes until they don’t fall apart can still beat forms of porous carbon like activated charcoal and such. But I don’t know what all the options are.

    1. >Very small amounts by mass of graphene in this video manage to stiffen some epoxy quite a lot, which seems similar to me.

      The question is, does it need to be graphene, or does just about any additive in similar amounts achieve the same increase in stiffness?

  7. Regarding the graphene in epoxy test: what’s the comparison? Suppose you add half a gram of fine glass fibers into the mix – wouldn’t it do exactly the same? Maybe the epoxy is just weak and adding anything to it makes it stronger.

    1. The fact that graphene has a Youngs modulus of 1,000,000 mpa vs 207,000 for steel means incredible stiffness gains with tiny percentage of added graphene. If you could somehow get say 10-20% of weight of graphene into plastic, you could approach metal properties in an injection molded part.

  8. As someone experienced with graphene, I wish to point out that a lot of this video was more hype and inaccuracies than real. I spent about 7 years making graphene and (at least attempting) to develop products with graphene. You can buy graphene nanoplatelets now (powder form) in at least kg quantities. It will cost you several hundred dollars per kg, but since 1 gram of graphene has a theoretical surface area of about 1300 meters, a little goes a long way. Most if the material for sale is probably produced by chemical exfoliation. I haven’t been following the field closely for the past few years, but I think I would have heard if there was any big change in production methods. In addition to pure graphene powders, companies do sell graphene-based conductive inks and paints.
    It is important to note that all of the talk of the strength and conductivity of graphene is with the caveat that this is about a 1 atom thick layer of material. It is 200 times stronger than the theoretical strength of any other 1 atom thick material. But you would still break it by touching it. It is only 1 atom thick. As you stack the layers, the properties change, eventually becoming equivalent to graphite.
    I used to make chemical vapor deposition graphene (I designed and built the tool). We could make 12cm x 30cm (5″x12″) sheets. The bigger challenges were in handling the graphene after production.
    Don’t get me wrong. I think the material still has a lot of potential. But it isn’t there yet and it isn’t as easy achieve as the video suggests. If anyone has a serious graphene business and is looking for help, send me a note.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.