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Using graphene, scientists develop a less toxic way to rust-proof steel

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May 18, 2012 – Comments (4)

Yep, I am back on graphene again. And this is a potential very big deal. Steel is used in so many industrial applications (in vast quantities) and a signficant portion of it needs to be rust-proofed. Nearly all of the rust-proofing chemicals like hexavalent chromium is nasty stuff

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Using graphene, scientists develop a less toxic way to rust-proof steel
http://phys.org/news/2012-05-graphene-scientists-toxic-rust-proof-steel.html

(Phys.org) -- University at Buffalo researchers are making significant progress on rust-proofing steel using a graphene-based composite that could serve as a nontoxic alternative to coatings that contain hexavalent chromium, a probable carcinogen.

In the scientists' first experiments, pieces of steel coated with the high-tech varnish remained rust-free for only a few days when immersed continuously in saltwater, an environment that accelerates corrosion.

By adjusting the concentration and dispersion of graphene within the composite, the researchers increased to about a month the amount of time the treated steel can survive in brine. (Because brine is an extremely harsh environment, the coated steel's survival time in the real-world would be many times longer.)

The UB chemists leading the project are Sarbajit Banerjee, PhD, an assistant professor, and Robert Dennis, a PhD student. Their next step is to use a $50,000 grant from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute to enhance the graphene composite's lasting power, as well as the quality of its finish.

Tata Steel, an international company that has provided past funding for Banerjee's projects, has been helping the scientists test larger sample sizes, Banerjee said.

Bringing the coating to the market could not only benefit public health, but also save jobs, said Dennis and Banerjee.

"Our product can be made to work with the existing hardware of many factories that specialize in chrome electroplating, including job shops in Western New York that grew around Bethlehem Steel," Banerjee said. "This could give factories a chance to reinvent themselves in a healthy way in a regulatory environment that is growing increasingly harsh when it comes to chromium pollution."

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4 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On May 18, 2012 at 10:29 AM, 2trpop (93.42) wrote:

 I green thumbed a few graphene related stocks to watch them, but I have been hearing about graphene since 2005 so it may be a few years yet before anything comes of it in a practical sense.

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#2) On May 18, 2012 at 10:34 AM, binve (< 20) wrote:

2trpop,

Yeah, I have been following graphene progress for about 10 years and I agree that in 2005-ish most of the research was still discovering capabilities and finding processes by which is could be created more consistently (the 'scotch-tape' method was 'state-of-the-art' for awhile). But in the last 3 years research has taken a much more applications-based approach. So I think we are on the doorstep of some major graphene breakthroughs (where they find their way into manufacturing, such as computer chips, steel, etc.), but I agree that this is still a few years away.

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#3) On May 18, 2012 at 12:30 PM, 2trpop (93.42) wrote:

Do you have any specific investing plan to cash in on your following of graphene?

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#4) On May 18, 2012 at 12:41 PM, binve (< 20) wrote:

Not yet. I think it is too early to pick winners. From a materials processing standpoint, I like CVD Materials. And the parent compant CVD Equipment has their fingers in a lot of exciting applications beyond graphene. I like to keep my eye on them. But realistically, the biggest graphene advancements on the horizon will be in integrated circuits. So I think Intel and AMD will be the biggest beneficiaries of this, and I think this will then lead to a new technological revolution, where you can have the speed of computing power today at a fraction of the power consumption (and heat dissipation) you will start to see computers being integrated into far more devices, like consumer appliances (fridges, washing machines), infrastructure (bridges, building, remote monitoring, etc.) and maybe even apparel (wearable computers might finally become a reality).

Just my crazy ramblings :)

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