Graphene: The New Face of Carbon and Its Potential in the AEC Industry


Technological advances have produced self-healing and self-replicating concrete (discussed in a previous article), but carbon is no shrinking violet and deserves an ode to its potential impact on the concrete scene.

Game Show Time: For $100, What Is an Allotrope?

Before we get into graphene itself, we need to define “allotrope” and you’ll soon see why. We’d heard of allopathy, an allosaurus and all kinds of other “allo” words, but “allotrope” was a new one on us.

It turns out we quite like allotrope: “… each of two or more different physical forms in which an element can exist. Graphite, charcoal, and diamond are all allotropes of carbon.” And so is graphene. (We’re thinking that if chocolate was ever declared an element, wow, imagine of all those yummily edible allotropes — choc chip cookies, chocolate milk, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake? Oh, boy. Get thee behind me, Satan.)

Photo Credit: Francis Sedgemore
A sheet of graphene: The thinnest, strongest and most conductive material in the world.

As the strongest material on Earth, graphene can be used to enhance or reinforce existing materials.

Carbonaceous Superpowers

Who in the AEC industry would say no to a form of concrete that was lighter, stronger and more environmentally friendly?



And More

Graphene from garbage . . . a good win-win!

Concrete, Under Pressure

Photo Credit: Courtesy of
Italcementi press office
Multiple applications for graphene-reinforced concrete are possible in home construction.

Graphene is a delicate layer of carbon, arranged as a honeycomb lattice that is the thickness of a single atom.

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