Scientists Say: Graphene | Science News for Students

Scientists Say: Graphene

This ultra-thin carbon layer is super strong and conducts electricity
Sep 4, 2017 — 6:50 am EST
In a sheet of graphene, each carbon atom (gray balls) links to three others to create a flat lattice.
AlexanderAlUS/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Graphene (noun, “GRA-feen”)

This is a sheet of carbon atoms that is only one atom thick. Graphene is so thin that 25,000 sheets of it stacked on each other are only as thick as a piece of paper. But graphene is incredibly strong — 200 times stronger than steel. It can also conduct electricity. Graphene can be used to make ultra-thin parts for computers, cell phones and more. 

In a sentence

Graphene is an important part of a type of artificial skin that can “feel” heat and texture.

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Power Words

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atom     The basic unit of a chemical element. Atoms are made up of a dense nucleus that contains positively charged protons and uncharged neutrons. The nucleus is orbited by a cloud of negatively charged electrons.

carbon     The chemical element having the atomic number 6. It is the physical basis of all life on Earth. Carbon exists freely as graphite and diamond. It is an important part of coal, limestone and petroleum, and is capable of self-bonding, chemically, to form an enormous number of chemically, biologically and commercially important molecules.

electricity     A flow of charge, usually from the movement of negatively charged particles, called electrons.

graphene     A superthin, superstrong material made from a single layer of carbon atoms connected together.