An Australian company has successfully developed a new way to make bricks using graphene, an unusual material used to make transparent plastics and ceramics.
The company, known as Nanoarchitecture, has unveiled the new technology at the International Brick Expo in Sydney.
The innovation has been dubbed “the most expensive bricks in Britain”, according to an article published on Monday.
The new technology is called Nanoarchructured Brick.
The technology uses the carbon nanotubes in graphene to form the bricks themselves, with the nanotube coating providing a barrier to air, while the graphene layer absorbs light and acts as a catalyst.
Nanoarch Structured Brick is made from a composite of three different types of carbon nanofibres.
The composite material has a very low molecular weight and a high strength.
The main strength of the composite is its strength against moisture and condensation, which can be overcome by cooling.
It also has the ability to be molded, with nanofiber reinforcement being added as a finish.
NanoArchitecture has used a combination of these three materials to create a highly porous, flexible and light-weight material, with a density of around 30 times the molecular weight of ordinary glass.
Nano-architectured bricks are currently being made in China and are being used in factories to manufacture steel, aluminium, ceramicals, plastics and much more.
The breakthrough has been made possible thanks to the development of graphene, which is a unique form of carbon, having a low molecular mass and a super high electrical conductivity.
Nano Architectures new technology, developed in the University of New South Wales’ Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has the potential to be the most versatile, flexible, light-tolerant, and environmentally friendly bricks ever made.
It is an exciting time for the world of materials science.
“Our work is a direct result of the work done in the Nanoarchaeology Laboratory at New South Welsh University,” Professor David Williams, a nanostructured brick researcher from the University, said.
“The materials scientists at New Zealand and Australia have created the first composite material in the world with an electrical conductive coating, and the breakthrough is a great example of how the research community is working towards the development and commercialisation of innovative materials.”
Nanoarch has already developed an extremely strong and flexible composite material called “molecular graphene”, which has a conductivity of around 50 per cent.
However, it is the ability of the material to retain water and condense, which allows it to withstand extreme temperatures and high humidity.
The material can be made in a wide range of conditions, including in space and on the surface of water, in space, on the walls of an aircraft, or in the atmosphere.
Nano Architecture has also recently developed a material that can be used to build the nano-structured bricks used in buildings.
The University of Auckland Professor Richard Haines, who is part of the team, said the next step is to try and use the material in different materials.
“We’ve also developed a novel polymer which we’ve called ‘nanomaterials’, which can form the structural properties of the nanofibrils, and also the electrical conductivities of the graphene,” Professor Hainers said.
The Nanoarch technology could help build the next generation of buildings, and is an important step towards creating buildings that are sustainable and resilient, and therefore able to support life.
The university’s Department of Nanoscience, Nanomaterial Technologies and the Future of Materials Research, which also works with Nanoarch, is leading the project.
The research has been supported by the Australian Research Council, the Australian Institute of Technology and the National Science Foundation.
The article was originally published on The Conversation.
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