The coating of a white fur jacket can keep a puck away, but what makes it so effective is its ability to absorb heat.
The coating is composed of two layers of carbon nanotubes bonded together.
They are so bonded that the surface of the carbon nanosheets are almost completely transparent, meaning they can pass heat and light easily.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have now been able to create graphene-based coatings that absorb heat at temperatures between 0.4 degrees Celsius and 1.2 degrees Celsius.
The coating’s ability to conduct heat at higher temperatures is useful because it can reduce the size of the puck.
“The graphene coating works at temperatures in the range of -30 to -50 degrees Celsius, and the effect is dramatic,” said researcher David L. Suter, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at Penn.
Suter and his colleagues also demonstrated the coating’s properties in the lab.
While they used graphene coated with carbon nanomaterials to produce a surface that absorbs heat, they also used a combination of silicon carbide, carbon nanorods and a polymeric material to make a second surface that is more heat-resistant.
Carbon nanorod is an all-purpose material that can be used in many applications, from coatings to solar cells.
Using the graphene-coated material, the researchers created a new type of polymeric coating, called nanomotors.
Nanomotores have been used in solar cells, solar cell modules and other applications for years, but the research has been a long time coming.
Researchers at Penn have now created graphene-and-nanomotor polymers that are very similar in properties to graphene and are a significant step forward in the development of graphene-carbon nanotors, Suter said.
“These are two of the most important materials that we’ve used to date,” he said.
Penn has published its findings in a recent issue of the journal Nature Materials.
Graphene-carbon composite coatings are already being tested in other areas.
A group of scientists at Georgia Tech recently demonstrated a coating that absorbs infrared light in the infrared range, a process called photovoltaics.
They demonstrated a photovolume of graphene and an aluminosilicate material that absorbs sunlight in the visible range.
More research will be needed to understand how the properties of graphene are able to transfer to these types of materials.
It is still early days for graphene-nanotors research.
Sucker said that it would take more than a year to find a solution to the problem.
Until then, Penn and its partners are working to develop a novel and cheaper form of graphene that could replace silicon carbides for coatings in applications ranging from solar cells to coatings for solar cells modules.