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Energy
fuel cell, supercapacitor, solar panel, battery
Construction
concrete, paint, polymer, silicone
Transport
tire, road, rail, asphalt
Electronics
touch screen, sensor, flexible electronics
Air & Water treatment
desalination, water filter, air filter
Research
catalysis, adhesive, coating, lubricant

Carbon nanomaterials hold unforeseen potential in almost every possible field. The applications for this material can be found in aerospace, medicine, mining, packaging, sports, textiles and more.

Energy

fuel cell, supercapacitor, solar panel, battery

Graphene-based nanomaterials have recently shown to have promise for many new energy storage and production devices, such as batteries, fuel cells, supercapacitors and solar cells. Graphene can increase both the recharging speed and energy capacity of batteries, as well as protect them from the formation of dendrites (branch-like filaments forming on the electrodes of the battery) which are the main reason that cause overheating and failure. In fuel cells and supercapacitors, the ultra high specific surface area and conductivity of graphene are used for hosting ions or active sites and for efficient electron transport. The electron transport abilities of graphene are also utilized in dye-sensitized solar cells, where they transfer the charge while being 70–80% transparent.

Construction

concrete, paint, polymer, silicone

Nanomaterials also add value and enhance physical and technical properties of different materials that are used in construction industry. Graphene and its derivatives are known to enhance the mechanical properties and add invaluable functionalities to concrete even at very low addition ratios. Graphene can bear an elastic deformation of up to 20% without fracturing and its very high surface area maximizes its interaction with surrounding materials.

 

Addition of carbon-based materials into the paint matrix will give rise to different valuable characteristics: the added value of graphene in paints and coatings comes from its corrosion resistance, strength and thermal conductivity. Graphene’s resistance to chemical attack means that even small amounts of added graphene can increase the paint’s resistance to the elements that could possibly be otherwise harmful to the lifetime of paint. The strength of graphene means that the paint is harder to scratch off and the increase of thermal conductivity helps with heat management. The addition of graphene also increases the coverage of the paint.

Transport

tire, road, rail, asphalt

In transport, but also in racing cars and bicycles, there is a great need to develop lighter tires that can last longer. Graphene can be used within tire treads, walls and the inner linings, it can make tires lighter, provide better grip and reduce rolling resistance. Fillers are typically dispersed in a rubber matrix. High surface area and high aspect ratio promote higher dynamic-mechanical properties of rubber compounds and enables the abrasion resistance of rubber composites to be greatly improved.

Electronics

touch screen, sensor, flexible electronics

Due to exceptional physicochemical properties, graphene and other carbon nanomaterials are also attractive materials for electronics. Graphene has excellent carrier mobility that occurs due to electron delocalization and weak electron-phonon interaction. As graphene has very broad absorption spectrum, the usage of graphene in photodetectors has gained interest. In order to achieve practical usage of flexible electronic devices, all the materials should have a high degree of mechanical durability under bending. Thus, the brittle materials should be replaced with alternatives that have better characteristics. The high transmittance and conductivity make the graphene attractive material in flexible transparent conductive electrodes that are used in different optical and electrical devices.

Air & Water treatment

desalination, water filter, air filter

The increasing global demand for fresh water has activated the research in filter technologies. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are most widely used in desalination and water filtration systems. CNTs can be used as a direct filter or as a filler to improve the overall performance of the membrane. The poor indoor air quality can induce dramatic health issues, such as respiratory diseases, allergies, asthma. To challenge the issue, there is a great need to combine good ventilation with efficient air filtration. In air filters the carbon nanomaterials are mainly used to capture gases. The addition of CNTs to the air filters can further increase the particle capture efficiency.

Research

catalysis, adhesive, coating, lubricant

Carbon nanomaterials are widely used in different research fields, such as in electrochemistry, material technologies and as additives for different lubricants and coatings. In electrochemistry, the carbon nanomaterials are studied mainly as potential catalysts or catalyst carriers. The usage of carbon-based materials can help to lower the amount of precious metals that are used in state-of-the-art catalysts, at the same time it opens the door to a completely metal-free catalyst research. The unique physicochemical properties of carbons make them valuable to also be employed in different high-tech materials and coatings, as even a very small amount can increase the materials characteristics and performance.