How to Turn Garbage Into Graphene

Carbon may be the building block of life, but it's also a building block inside a whole bunch of our trash, from the carbon black in tires to banana peels and plastic bags. But for the first time, scientists have found a way to give this underutilized carbon new life.

With a simple jolt of electricity, researchers at Rice University have turned garbage into graphene, a vital material in electronics, solar panels, and even asphalt. The new process, which is called "flash graphene" production, yields bulk quantities of graphene flakes. Not only does this technique produce far more graphene than traditional methods, but it's also way cheaper and greener, upcycling food waste, plastic, and even coal into a valuable carbon allotrope used in various branches of material science.

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