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Aerographene or graphene aerogel is, as of March 2013, the least dense solid known, at 160 g/m3 (0.0100 lb/cu ft), less than helium. It is approximately 7.5 times less dense than air. (The cited density does not include the weight of the air incorporated in the structure: it does not float in air).[1] It was developed at Zhejiang University. Allegedly the material can be produced at the scale of cubic meters.[2][3]


Aerographene contains carbon nanotube supports on the inside. These are surrounded by a graphene exterior.[1] Aerographene is an elastic foam.[4] Its density is such that blocks of it can be balanced on small plants and plant structures such as flowers and grasses.[5]


Aerographene was discovered at Zhejiang University by a team of scientists led by Gao Chao. He and his team had already successfully created macroscopic materials made out of graphene. These materials were one-dimensional and two-dimensional. However, when synthesizing aerographene, the scientists instead created a three-dimensional structure. The synthesis was accomplished by the freeze-drying of carbon nanotube solutions[1] and large amounts of graphene oxide. Residual oxygen was then removed chemically.


One method employs freeze drying that can yield graphene sponges of arbitrary size.[2] As of 2013, however, aerographene is usually produced in amounts on the order of cubic centimeters.[5]


Aerographene has potential applications for cleaning up oil spills,[6] able to absorb 900 times its weight in oil.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Michelle Starr (March 25, 2013). "Graphene aerogel is the new world's lightest substance". Retrieved September 6, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Ultra-light Aerogel Produced at a Zhejiang University Lab-Press Releases-Zhejiang University". 2013-03-19. Archived from the original on 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  3. ^ Mecklenburg, M.; Schuchardt, A.; Mishra, Y. K.; Kaps, S. R.; Adelung, R.; Lotnyk, A.; Kienle, L.; Schulte, K. (2012). "Aerographite: Ultra Lightweight, Flexible Nanowall, Carbon Microtube Material with Outstanding Mechanical Performance". Advanced Materials. 24 (26): 3486–3490. doi:10.1002/adma.201200491. PMID 22688858.
  4. ^ "Solid carbon, springy and light". Nature. 494 (7438): 404. February 27, 2013. Bibcode:2013Natur.494Q.404.. doi:10.1038/494404a. PMID 23446383.
  5. ^ a b Farrell, David (March 26, 2013). "Graphene sponge becomes lightest material on earth". Retrieved September 7, 2013.
  6. ^ Chen, Bo, et al. "Carbon‐Based Sorbents with Three‐Dimensional Architectures for Water Remediation." Small 11.27 (2015): 3319-3336.