Advanced Materials series: Graphene

Graphene is an engineered single plane of carbon atoms. They are formed by one atom thick sheets of crystallised carbon arranged in a single sheet hexagonal lattice like a chicken wire structure. Graphene structurally is a single atomic plane of naturally occurring graphite. It has properties such as high tensile strength, thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, flexibility and their low mass. 

Graphene has a high surface area to volume ratio by a factor of 2.5, which allows for more reactive properties. Although the atomic structure of Carbon nanotubes (CNT) are made by rolling graphene into a tube, the manufacturing process for Graphene and CNT are completely different.

Image author: magicalhobo via Creative Commons

The rail industry could incorporate graphene/graphene composites into train bodies to improve strength whilst reducing weight, thus saving energy required for motion and reducing the running cost of rolling stock. Graphene can improve the energy density of traditional supercapacitors and could be implemented as auxiliary power systems for rolling stock. In addition, graphene can be used within safety critical components to reinforce them as well as using its selfsensing applications to measure stress/strain for safety monitoring. Graphene layers can be incorporated into rolling stock windscreens for de-icing and anti-fog properties.


Banner image author: AlexanderAIUS
Log in or register to keep reading
Register for free individual access
  • Unlock research, articles and more
  • Get updates on RSSB’s activities





Need some help?
To talk to us about accessing RSSB content or corporate membership:
Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.