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Preparation and characterization of graphene oxide paper


Free-standing paper-like or foil-like materials are an integral part of our technological society. Their uses include protective layers, chemical filters, components of electrical batteries or supercapacitors, adhesive layers, electronic or optoelectronic components, and molecular storage1. Inorganic ‘paper-like’ materials based on nanoscale components such as exfoliated vermiculite or mica platelets have been intensively studied2,3 and commercialized as protective coatings, high-temperature binders, dielectric barriers and gas-impermeable membranes4,5. Carbon-based flexible graphite foils5,6,7 composed of stacked platelets of expanded graphite have long been used8,9 in packing and gasketing applications because of their chemical resistivity against most media, superior sealability over a wide temperature range, and impermeability to fluids. The discovery of carbon nanotubes brought about bucky paper10, which displays excellent mechanical and electrical properties that make it potentially suitable for fuel cell and structural composite applications11,12,13,14. Here we report the preparation and characterization of graphene oxide paper, a free-standing carbon-based membrane material made by flow-directed assembly of individual graphene oxide sheets. This new material outperforms many other paper-like materials in stiffness and strength. Its combination of macroscopic flexibility and stiffness is a result of a unique interlocking-tile arrangement of the nanoscale graphene oxide sheets.

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Figure 1: Morphology and structure of graphene oxide paper.
Figure 2: Examples of the tensile behaviour for a few representative graphene oxide paper samples.
Figure 3: Comparison of tensile strength σ and modulus E for a set of thin paper-like materials.
Figure 4: The results of bending experiments for samples of graphene oxide paper with different thicknesses t.

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We appreciate support from NASA through the University Research, Engineering and Technology Institute (URETI) on Bio-inspired Materials (BiMat), and from the NSF. This work made use of X-ray facilities supported by the MRSEC programme of the National Science Foundation at the Materials Research Center of Northwestern University, and the X23B beamline of the National Synchrotron Light Source supported by the US Department of Energy. We thank I. M. Daniel for the use of his mechanical testing instruments, and A. L. Ruoff for commenting on an earlier version of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Rodney S. Ruoff.

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Dikin, D., Stankovich, S., Zimney, E. et al. Preparation and characterization of graphene oxide paper. Nature 448, 457–460 (2007).

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