Never heard of Graphene ? You will soon, because it's going to change our world forever in a BIG way. And that includes wooden flooring.
It’s probably the most important discovery of the last 1000 years, and its going to affect our lives in a big way, even in wooden flooring. It’s 200 times stronger than steel, it’s harder than diamond, it can carry a thousand times more electricity than copper, it’s the lightest material known to man, the most flexible, and it’s completely transparent. Yet Graphene is still almost unheard of since its discovery over 10 years ago. However, it was a big enough discovery to have landed the two scientists, Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov Nobel prizes in physics, as well as knighthoods for their work on this super material. So what is graphene, what can it do, and how can it change our world. Well, the first graphene thingy you’re actually going to see is the mobile phone. And just wait and see what this little thing can do.
At just one atom thick, graphene is the world’s first 2D material to be discovered by man. The possibilities of its applications are just endless. By layering the various spin off crystals from graphene together, new super products can be made to meet the demands of almost any kind of industry. Planes, cars, mobile phones, electronics, energy storage to name but a few, can all take advantage of graphenes super powers. Our world will be faster, cheaper, lighter, stronger, and we may also see its unique properties used in medicine. But how on earth can it be used with wood, or wooden flooring. Well, once we see graphene in construction, it will change the way buildings are designed forever. If huge, steel load bearing beams could be replaced with lighter graphene reinforced wooden or steel beams, then all of a sudden architects will have a whole new playground to sharpen their pencils in. But don’t get too excited. It wont be in B&Q just yet.
Graphene could also play an important role in wooden flooring too, in surface and finishing treatments. A wood floor with a graphene based lacquer or oil on it would be virtually indestructible. Graphene paint is already available, and can provide corrosion free surface treatments for almost anything. But there’s an even more important role it can fulfil which is an environmental one, and of course the moment you mention environmentally friendly, out come the eco warriors in their droves.
Although there are wood flooring products available on the market today that have a wood veneer of just 0.5mm in thickness, the UK seems to have little appetite or confidence in wood veneers that are so thin, despite the fact they’re guaranteed for 15 years. But graphene can change all that. The wooden floor industry will change forever when graphene becomes commercially available in the form of oils and lacquers. We’ll chop down fewer trees, save more species of wood, and what wood we do use, will only ever need to be a fraction of the thickness that’s required for the wooden floor industry in today’s market.
Granted, we are a long way off seeing graphene in these type of applications just yet, but it’s coming, and it will change our world dramatically. As far as being conscientious with our natural resources is concerned, i’ts uber important.
I xxxxxxx LOVE SCIENCE.