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Graphene Oxide: Production and Usage

Written by nanotechenergy

Graphene oxide is a form of Graphene. A sheet of graphene oxide is just graphene with added oxygen atoms. Graphene is a one-atom-thick layer of carbon oxides structured into a hexagonal lattice of benzene rings. The unique two-dimensional structure gives it unusual properties like extreme durability, insolubility, flexibility, and conductivity. To maintain the uniform structure of graphene, graphene oxide is not produced through oxidation, but through reduction.

The characteristics of graphene changes due to solubility and conductivity.  Graphene oxide is easily dissolvable in water and other organic solvents. Moreover, with some special modifications, graphene oxide can be conductive. Along with the fact that it is easily attachable to substrates, graphene oxide allows some specific usage in hi-tech fields.

Uses of Graphene Oxide

The above-mentioned properties of graphene oxide, being attachable to substrates and conductivity in specific conditions now serve as a basis for conductive films based on graphene oxide.

These conductive films can be used in sensors, solar panel cells, and wearable electronics (as graphene is biocompatible as well). Graphene Oxide’s feature of solubility allows it to be used in the production of hybrid materials. The graphene oxide is sometimes mixed with polymers to increase its electrical and physical parameters, particularly its flexibility and durability. This improvement can be two-fold, like, as it is an insulator, with proper treatment, it is a conductor. This means that after passing through a certain process, the same material on the same substrate can shift conductivity in any direction.

As being soluble and biocompatible, graphene oxide can be a replacement to amines and be used to deliver medicines. Bio-devices can benefit from the similarity, as can future optoelectrical applications.

How is Graphene Oxide Made?

There are many established methods for the preparation of graphene oxide. These methods include Hofmann’s method, Hummers’ method, and Staudenmaier’s method. The preparation method should be selected carefully as it affects the relationship with heavy metals and carboxyl groups.

Producing Industrial Volumes

For the feasible production of industrial volumes, the methods are still under development. Yet, graphene oxide may be considered more than graphene, due to cost-effective oxide production.

The graphene-based products are rapidly increasing in the market, creating intense competition among different research teams and companies. Also, as it is economical to produce graphene oxide, the production of pure graphene has gained a good amount of attention. Thus, due to this, graphene production has also become very feasible.

Current Graphene Oxide Production

These days, the most commonly used method for the production of graphene oxide is with chemical oxidation of natural graphite, though, it can be done with electrochemical oxidation as well. However, the electrochemical oxidation process is continually modified to find an answer to the production of industrial volumes.

Final Consideration

With all the graphene oxide’s features, its production and market availability has been continuously increasing. Although, for the feasible production of industrial volumes, graphene oxide’s production methods are under development. Still, due to its cost-effectiveness, graphene oxide is considered more than graphene. Also, the most common method for the production of graphene oxide is chemical oxidization. With its unusual properties, it is the most produced and used material.

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