Back in February, researchers from Rice University created 3D graphene foam supported by carbon nanotubes, but it was difficult to make. Now, the team has developed a way to 3D print the material.
Graphene is poised to improve electronics, batteries, medicine, water filters, and basically anything that can benefit from being lighter, stronger or a better conductor of heat and electricity. But before it can really be applied to these problems, it needs to be converted from a 2D sheet into a 3D form – and therein lies the problem. Efforts so far have yielded a material that's not as effective as its two dimensional counterpart.
But things are improving. Back in January an MIT team outlined a way to potentially make a spongey-but-strong 3D graphene, and the Rice researchers followed with their "rebar graphene", reinforced with carbon nanotubes that allow the material to support 3,000 times its own weight.