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Networks of Graphene Nanoribbons and Nanosheets Formed in Metals by the Electrocharging Assisted Process

The incorporation of carbon nanostructures, such as graphene and carbon nanotubes, in the lattice of metals is desirable to take advantage of the superior mechanical and electrical properties of these graphitic nanostructures and the high density of electrons in metals. There have been numerous attempts to create composites of metals, such as copper or aluminum, with carbon nanostructures.  These methods frequently require several steps and do not form bonds between the metal and the carbon nanostructures.  In aluminum these methods produce the undesirable compound Al4C3.  We use electrocharging assisted process which creates graphene nanoribbons and nanosheets in a metal by the application of a high DC current of ~150 A to a mixture of the liquid metal and particles of carbon. The graphitic structures form a 3D epitaxial structure with the lattice of the metal and bond with atoms in the metal making the composite very stable.  The electrical, thermal and mechanical properties of these composites improve compared to the parent metal.

L. Salamanca-Riba

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Created May 2, 2018, Updated October 2, 2018