How to produce graphene from the mechanical exfoliation method?

How to produce graphene from the mechanical exfoliation method? Graphene 24 April 2020


Mechanical exfoliation: the process

This method was first described in 2008 in order to answer the needs for a scalable production process to produce graphene.

This top-down method requires mechanical energy in order to exfoliate graphite. Most commonly, techniques like sonication or high-shear-mixing are utilized. To obtain stable dispersions, it is necessary to add a specific solvent or surfactant.

Advantages and drawbacks

Depending on the process used, mechanical exfoliation leaves very few defects in the graphene, enabling it to maintain its structure and electrical or thermal properties. However, this production method usually leads to a large distribution of graphene flakes in size and thickness.

Moreover, since graphene is hydrophobic by nature, it will tend to reaggregate after dispersion in a solvent. The surfactants or functionalizers chosen therefore play a major role in the stability and final properties of the dispersion. However, the surfactants or solvents used can deteriorate the properties of graphene.

What to remember about the mechanical exfoliation process?

Although this production method is fairly simple to implement, the quality and purity of exfoliated graphene may not be sufficient for specific applications.

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