Recipe for Homemade Flexible Electronics

Combine pencil leads and dishwashing liquid, mix on high speed in a blender, pour the liquid into an ink cartridge and insert it into an ink-jet printer. Place a sheet of special fabric or plastic into the printer and print the circuit design onto it. Fold the printed sheet according to directions and connect it as desired. It’s not quite this simple yet, but read the articles below to see how close we are to actually doing this.

Making graphene in your kitchen – [phys.org]

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world’s thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.

Thus far, graphene has proven elusively hard to manufacture on an industrial scale. Methods have required a choice between high quality graphene in small quantities, or large batches with defects.

A team from England and Ireland, however, reported on Sunday they had used a blender to make microscopic sheets of graphene.

They placed powdered graphite, the stuff from which pencil lead is made, into a container with an “exfoliating liquid”, and then mixed at high speed.

The result is miniscule sheets of graphene, each about a nanometre (a billionth of a metre) thick and 100 nanometres long, suspended in a liquid.

Graphene You Can Whip Up In A Blender – [spectrum.ieee.org]

The first graphene was made by pulling layers off of graphite using Scotch tape. Now, in keeping with the low-tech origins of the material, a team at Trinity College Dublin has found that it should be possible to make large quantities of the stuff by mixing up some graphite and stabilizing detergent with a blender.

The graphene produced in this manner isn’t anything like the wafer-scale sheets of single-layer graphene that are being grown by Samsung, IBM and others for high-performance electronics. Instead, the blender-made variety consists of small flakes that are exfoliated off of bits of graphite and then separated out by centrifuge. But small-scale graphene has its place, the researchers say. Solutions of the stuff could be used in printed electronics and conductive coatings. The flakes could also be used as filler to boost the mechanical, thermal, or electrical properties of composite materials.

Printing Graphene With Ink-jets – [hackingtheuniverse.com]

Printing graphene with ink-jet technology has been difficult because it tends to breakdown conductivity. Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a new method of producing graphene flakes that can be mixed into an ink form to be printed while still retaining conductivity and flexibility. This is a move toward being able to print inexensive flexible transistors, solar cells and other electronic components.

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