'GO dough' makes graphene easy to form and mold

New form of graphene oxide is fun to play with, and solves manufacturing challenges. A team has turned graphene oxide into a soft, moldable and kneadable play dough that can be shaped and reshaped into free-standing, three-dimensional structures.



The team has turned graphene oxide (GO) into a soft, moldable and kneadable play dough that can be shaped and reshaped into free-standing, three-dimensional structures.

Called "GO dough," the product might be fun to play with it, but it's more than a toy. The malleable material solves several long-standing, and sometimes explosive, problems in the graphene manufacturing industry.


Currently graphene oxide is stored as dry solids or powders, which are prone to combustion.

Graphene oxide, which is a product of graphite oxidation, is often used to make graphene, a single-atom-layer thick sheet of carbon that is remarkably strong, lightweight and has potential for applications in electronics and energy storage.


The team made GO dough by adding an ultra-high concentration of graphene oxide to water. If the team had used binding additives, they would have had to further process the material to remove these additives in order to return graphene oxide to its pure form.


Adding binders such as plastics could turn anything into a dough state, while these additives often significantly alter the material's properties.

After being shaped into structures, the dough can be converted into dense solids that are electrically conductive, chemically stable and mechanically hard. Or, more water can be added to the dough to transform it into a high-quality GO dispersion on demand. The dough can also be processed further to make bulk graphene oxide and graphene materials of different forms with tunable microstructures. Researchers hope that GO dough's ease of use could help graphene meet its much-anticipated potential as a super material.


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