The miraculous material called graphene is all about revolution – with its usability in filtering seawater to make it drinkable, making those super strong rubber bands, kickass running shoes, diagnosing cancer and now it may even be using bullet proof armour! Doesn’t graphene look pretty darn versatile and incredible!
But what is this gaudy graphene material? Well, it is a single layer of carbon atoms that are hexagonally bonded with each other to from honeycomb-like pattern. Most of us have come across graphene without realising because it comes from graphite, which is most commonly found in pencils. Since graphene is made of single layer of carbon atoms, it is remarkably thin but a team of researchers found that two layers of graphene can be strong enough to be able to stop a bullet fired from gun! When these two layers of graphene are arranged together properly, they become durable enough to handle the impact of bullet even at room temperature.
The researchers at City University of New York have claimed that initially, when they tested the single layer of graphene, it was incredibly soft when applied pressure but when these graphene sheets were exactly two-layers thick, it became extremely hard and as stiff, or stiffer, than bulk diamond. And hence they have named this double-stacked graphene material as ‘diamene’. These researchers claim that diamene is the thinnest film with the stiffness and hardness of diamond ever created. But this stiffness and hardness is limited to just two layers, when tested for more or less layers, it failed. Which means, when double-stacked, these carbon sheets achieve the properties of diamonds and theoretically, diamene can undergo a diamond transition.
And if diamene can actually take the hit of a bullet, well, they can save uncountable lives and transform how we see bullet-proof armours and war. Foil-thin bullet-proof armour is just one example of how diamene can be an immensely revolutionary game changer. The researchers also noticed that during impact, there was a reduction in electric current, which means, it could also be used for its electronic and spintronic characteristics – so freaking versatile.