To make the concrete, a team from Britain's University of Exeter devised a technique of suspending flakes of graphene in water, then mixing that water with traditional concrete ingredients such as cement and aggregate. The process is reportedly inexpensive, and compatible with modern, large-scale manufacturing requirements.
When tested, the graphene-enhanced concrete was found to have a 146-percent increase in compressive strength as compared to regular concrete, a 79.5-percent increase in flexural strength, and a decrease in water permeability of almost 400 percent. The material meets British and European standards for construction.
The increased strength and water resistance should allow structures made with the concrete to last much longer than would otherwise be possible. This means that they wouldn't have to be replaced as often, which in turn means that less concrete would have to be poured – and production of the cement used in concrete is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions.