Is it a Box of Girl Scout Cookies or $15 Billion in Graphene?
By Kevin Lee
Graphene is a new wonder material that’s stronger, more flexible, and more electrically conductive than many other materials, and it could make all our electronics faster. Now Rice University scientists have proven that you could make the compound from just about anything including a box of Girl Scout cookies.
The experiment began as a dare by chemist James Tour, who said that they could make graphene out of any carbon source. The next logical step was to invite members of Girl Scouts of the United States of America Troop 25080 who brought along the cookies.
The sugary delights converted just fine and the researchers estimated that a single box of shortbread cookies could yield $15 billion worth of graphene and a sheet large enough to cover three football fields. Yes, $15 billion. With a B. The researches also managed to fabricate high-quality graphene from a variety of materials including chocolate, grass, polystyrene plastic, insects (a cockroach leg), and dog feces. Yum.
In each case, the object was burned in a furnace filled with argon and hydrogen gasses burning at 1,050 degrees Celsius. As the material burns the solid carbon sources decompose and seep through a copper foil to form graphene, while other residues and impurities are left on the other side of the foil.
The Rice University team has proven that we can make graphene from basically anything around us. But the next step is figuring out a mass production method so we can make graphene in bulk.