Researchers develop 3D graphene 10 times stronger than steel but lighter

Researchers from MIT have developed a form of graphene that is not only 10 times as strong as steel but also has just 5 per cent of its density.
In a study published in the journal Science Advances, Markus Buehler and colleagues showed how fusing and compressing graphene flakes gave birth to the new material and addressed some of graphene’s glaring weaknesses.
Graphene has always been strong — the strongest of all known materials — but the kind of strength it has in two-dimensional form does not carry over when the material is formed in 3D. The study addressed this problem.
Instead of changing something in graphene, the researchers realized that the solution lay in how the material is used: formed in an unusual geometric pattern.
This also suggests that other strong and lightweight materials can be made stronger as well by taking on similar geometric features.
Earlier studies have explored strengthening lightweight materials but experiments were not able to match predicted results. For the current study, the researchers decided to analyse graphene down to individual atoms in its structure and they were able to come up with a mathematical framework that closely matched observations in their experiments.
Combining heat and pressure, the researchers were able to compress graphene flakes, creating a strong, stable structure similar in form to microscopic creatures known as diatoms and certain corals. With a surface area enormous compared to its volume, the structure was proven to be remarkably strong.