A new study published by Virginia Commonwealth University has revealed new findings about how graphene interacts with water. The findings could impact the evolution of fuel cell membranes, sensors, water filtration, and graphene-based electrodes in supercapacitors, according to Phys.org.
The researchers set out with the goal of better understanding how liquids, particularly water, interact with various surfaces, including graphene.
“An extremely important surface to study the wetting is a graphene sheet. Graphene is one of the most prominent nanomaterials,” said research team lead Neda Ojaghlou.
“Its chemical, electrical and mechanical properties underlie a wide range of applications from cellphones to tennis racquet production, and from electronic devices to car manufacturing.”
Researchers looked at whether graphene became wet when a the sheet was placed adjacent to water, using computer simulations to observe the phenomenon at a molecular level.
“By improving the graphene model, we have shown for the first time how graphene’s conductivity leads to wetting transparency. Conductivity means the displacement of electric charges of carbon atoms to respond to the presence of water electric dipole moments,” Ojaghlou said.
“In short, we have taken the graphene conductivity into account, and that provides a much better explanation of the wetting of graphene when there is water on the other side.”