A new boozy application of graphene has been discovered, and it is one that is likely to be just as popular in a brewery as in a lab.
Nearly every week a strange new application is found for graphene, which continues to exhibit some incredible attributes. Not only is the atom-thick material the thinnest known, it is the also the strongest, stiffest, most flexible and the best conductor of heat and electricity.
Since its discovery scientists across the world have been working flat out to find useful applications for the technology. Now though it seems that they have finally cracked it.
According to the Nobel prize winning professor from the University of Manchester, who actually discovered the super-material, graphene can be used to distill hard liquor.
Professor Sir Andrew Geim, one of the sticky tape wielding graphene discoverers, revealed that he has been cooking up some graphene moonshine in labs recently.
Geim discovered that a membrane of graphene oxide placed over a container of water was able to stop any gases or liquids passing through, apart from water that is. He was surprised to discover that the membranes – hundreds of times thinner that human hair – would let nothing but evaporated water molecules through while blocking everything else out.
Perhaps reliving his old student days, the Professor then set up a home brew kit and used the membrane to distill some vodka. Geim, who says he did it all “for a laugh”, found that the vodka became stronger and stronger over time as the water evaporated out.
Whether graphene will be used in to give your drink an extra kick anytime soon, we don't know, but we can certainly see some applications for the park bench liquor connoisseur.
It is thought that it could be 2020 before graphene starts getting used in microchips, so we can expect a graphene-based cocktail to hit swanky bars around that time too.