Flash Graphene

J. Tour
Rice University,
United States

Keywords: graphene, flash, catalysts

Summary:

Described will be a new process called flash graphene to make graphene in bulk from any solid carbon source without metal catalysts, without solvent, without furnaces, without lasers, and in less than 1 second. The carbon sources include coal, petroleum coke, biochar, carbon black, discarded food, rubber tires and mixed plastic waste. While the demonstration has reach the synthesis scale at 5 grams at a time, there is a pathway to multi-ton production per day at $100 per ton in electricity costs. The flash graphene process affords turbostratic graphene meaning that there is no alignment between the graphene layers, so it readily dispersed in solvents and composites. 0.05 weight percent of flash graphene can increase the compressive strength of concrete by 35%. This represents an upcycling of mixed plastic waste. Graphene is already a part of our environment in the form of graphite shearing and 10-20% of coal content; it is proving to be nontoxic and non- or very slowly degrading material, hence it is a terminal point for the carbon materials assets that are brought from underground (coal and oil). It will only very slowly, if ever, re-enter the carbon cycle. But it could be re-flashed to generate new graphene feedstock if desired. This represents a holistic method for the circular materials economy of carbon.