Graphene has already proved that it’s worth more than its weight in gold with huge innovations in solar power, medical treatments, and a whole lot more. So it comes as no surprise that graphene investments have heated up as a result, with KIC InnoEnergy recently investing over $4 million USD in leading European ultracapacitor manufacturer Skeleton Technologies. Additionally, Graphene 3D Lab Inc. recently signed a research and development agreement with a Fortune 500 company, proving that we’re getting closer to the consumer market phase of graphene’s applications.
Here are three amazing new graphene applications we can look forward to seeing on the market in the near future. Consider it further proof that there couldn’t be a better time to invest in this wonder material.
1. Ultrasonic Microphones
Graphene is the star of the show in the recent development of a microphone 32 times as sensitive as those currently on the market. A research team shared their work in a paper with science journal 2D Materials. One of the paper’s authors, Marko Spasenovic, said, “Given its light weight, high mechanical strength and flexibility, graphene just begs to be used as an acoustic membrane material.”
Microphones typically work like megaphones in reverse: they turn sound into electrical currents. As sound waves pass through a membrane that vibrates and causes a metallic coil to to move back and forth across a magnet, sending the electric current to amplifiers. Nickel is the normal material used to make microphone membranes, but this research team applied graphene to the membranes through a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process. Across a wide range of amplitudes, the graphene microphone was found to have an amazingly superior ability to detect more nuanced sound than nickel predecessors. While this technology is still being developed for commercial applications, graphene is poised to revolutionize the music industry with this breakthrough.
2. Bendable Smartphones
The application of graphene to flexible tech displays has been in the works for a while now, but just this month, the world got its first glimpse of a functional flexible smartphone at a trade show at Nanping International Conventional Center in Chongqing, China. While details have been kept under wraps on the company and its breakthrough technology, we know that the screen gets its impressive flexibility through the use of graphene.
At just one atom thick, graphene’s huge appeal for tech applications comes in its outsized strength, flexibility, thinness, and ability to conduct heat and electricity. In a video from the trade show, we see these properties in action as the smartphone can literally wrap around a wearer’s wrist with a highly responsive touch screen. As companies race to create the first market-ready bendable smartphone, graphene is about to get even hotter as an investment opportunity.
3. Supercharged Fishing Rod
When a world-class fisherman and a former NASA engineer team up to build a better fishing rod, you know the results are going to be impressive. 200 times stronger than steel, graphene was a natural choice for a major upgrade to sport fisher’s main tool. Pro angler Scott Mackenzie teamed up with Gary Savage, who has not only worked on NASA space shields, but also on Formula One racecars. “We have taken the best of everything we have learned in Formula One to create the best fly rod ever made,” said Savage to Tech Times. To create the rod, honeycombed graphene was rolled into tiny tiny tubes, which transform into bonded threads that enable the rod to be super strong while also remaining flexible.
Graphene can stretch up to 20 percent of its length, and is 30 times stronger than Kevlar, making it a win-win for the unique requirements of fishing. From flexing deeply upon casting the line to retaining its strength when reeling in a catch, this is a huge fishing breakthrough that the team believes will revolutionize the sport of salmon fishing. This is not the first time that graphene has been used to revolutionize sports equipment, which is a nascent market with huge potential for innovation.