Feeds

Boffins make graphene micro-distillery

Wonder stuff cooked up super-strength vodka

New hybrid storage solutions

Graphene-creating boffins have discovered a new purpose for the wonder material - a teeny-tiny distillery.

A team led by one of the Nobel prize-winning scientists who first made the world's thinnest and strongest material have now found out that graphene can stop air and other gases, but it lets water right through.

Naturally, they tested this by super-distilling vodka with graphene membranes.

"Just for a laugh, we sealed a bottle of vodka with our membranes and found that the distilled solution became stronger and stronger with time," co-author Rahul Nair told the Press Association. "Neither of us drinks vodka but it was great fun to do the experiment."

Andre Geim, the University of Manchester prof and one of the pair of graphene-creators, won the Noble prize for physics for the work.

He and his team worked with membranes made from graphene oxide and showed that they held back all gases and liquid apart from water, which evaporates through it so fast, it may as well not be there.

The membranes even shut out helium, which is a difficult gas to restrain.

"Helium gas is hard to stop," said Geim. "It slowly leaks even through a millimetre-thick window glass but our ultra-thin films completely block it. At the same time, water evaporates through them unimpeded. Materials cannot behave any stranger."

Apart from the teeny-tiny distillery mentioned, the boffins aren't really sure what this discovery might lead to, although it does add to the growing list of cool things that graphene can do.

As well as being the thinnest and strongest material known, it also conducts heat and electricity better than any other stuff. It's being hailed as the answer to almost all tech problems, from storage to batteries and flexible touchscreens to futuristic aeroplanes.

The research was published in Science here. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Boffins: Behold the SILICON CHEAPNESS of our tiny, radio-signal-munching IoT sensor
Single ant-sized Stanford chip combines radio, 'puter, antenna
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
TROUT and EELS in SINISTER PACT to RULE the oceans
Slimy chums form deadly alliance to sweep seas
Drones swarm over bearded Brit billionaire's island getaway
Just to take lovely pictures though, after Richard Branson invests in 3D Robotics
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
California blue whale numbers soar to historical levels, say boffins
Still far too many of them being struck by US ships, mind
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.