Posted by: Hourglass PJ2 FEB 2012
Having written before about graphene, Hourglass was interested to see some new research published in Nature Materials on this extremely thin nanomaterial, which is derived from graphite.
In this new study, which aimed to understand how graphene interacts with water, pieces of gold, copper and silicon were coated with a single layer of the material and a drop of water placed on the coated surfaces. The researchers were surprised to find that the graphene layer proved to have virtually no impact on the manner in which water spreads on surfaces.
Their explanation for this is that water spreads on surfaces such as copper and gold via non-bonding interactions known as Van der Waals forces, which have a range of several nanometres. Hence these forces are not disrupted by a layer of graphene that is just 0.3nm thick.
The researchers hope that their finding could find practical application in coating copper surfaces in dehumidifiers where graphene could protect the copper surface from oxidising without altering the wettability of the copper so retaining the ability of the dehumidifier to transfer heat.