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    What is the difference between GOgraphene’s Powder and Flake?

    What is the difference between GOgraphene’s Powder and Flake?

    William Blythe currently offer two different solid forms of graphene oxide through the GOgraphene webshop; a powder and a flake.

    Both products are formed from the aqueous dispersions of graphene oxide manufactured at William Blythe Ltd, and both products meet the same rigorous quality standards as all William Blythe products. We are often asked if there is any difference between these two products, and if so what those differences are. The simple answer to these questions is that while they are different, the differences allow the user to pick the product most suitable for their work rather than one being better than the other.

    The flake and the powder are different products because of the drying technique used to produce them, which in turn leads to differences in the properties of the materials. GOgraphene’s graphene oxide powder is best described as a fine brown dust, which will disperse easily with minimal energy input. GOgraphene’s graphene oxide flake is visually different – the flakes are dark brown-amber discs with a diameter of 0.3-0.7 cm. Our graphene oxide flake has been specifically developed to allow researchers who cannot handle dusty solids to work with graphene oxide in non-aqueous systems.

    The difference in physical form of these two materials affects the dispersibility of the products. The powder has a higher surface area by definition, this means it is easier to disperse. The flake can be considered as compacted graphene oxide layers; which water molecules need to intercalate between in order to form a dispersion. According to the work carried out by the GOgraphene team, there is no difference in the dispersion stability based on the solid form used. The difference lies in the ease of dispersion; where our graphene oxide powder can be dispersed with a very mild energy input, the flake requires higher energy sonication. For labs which are not equipped with this facility, the powder is undoubtedly the more appropriate option.

    To summarise, our graphene oxide flake and freeze dried powder are different products, neither of which are better than the other in all applications. They are complementary products which find purpose in different research programmes. If you would like to speak to a team member regarding which product is more suitable for your work, we would be more than happy to discuss your research.

    Graphene Oxide in Antibacterial Coatings

    Graphene Oxide in Antibacterial Coatings

    Graphene oxide has been investigated in thousands of research programmes, to cover many different applications. One potential application for graphene oxide is in antibacterial coatings.

    Antibacterial coatings are used to reduce the spread of bacteria, which can help reduce infections. In recent years, the growth of antibiotic resistance has increased the need for antibacterial coatings. These coatings are needed for a variety surfaces, including on medical devices such as catheters.

    Research on graphene oxide has proven that it can be effective in bactericidal applications, however the mechanism has not been well understood, preventing the development of specific grades of graphene oxide for this application. A recent article published in ACS Nano focused on this issue, examining different forms of graphene oxide in relation to antibiotic resistant E. Coli.

    By examining multiple reduced and hydrated forms of graphene oxide, the research has indicated that the presence of carbon radicals is critical when using graphene oxide as a bactericidal. Higher levels of carbon radicals were achieved in highly hydrated derivatives of graphene oxide – epoxy groups are converted to hydroxyl groups by treating in aqueous alkalized solutions. The tests were carried out on both glass substrates and silicone catheters, both of which would be relevant in a medical setting.

    This article is an interesting example for illustrating application development around graphene oxide. Historical graphene oxide research has led to thousands of papers, but commercial applications are struggling to gain traction. To bridge the gap between ideas with great potential and real-world applications, research such as this is essential. The graphene oxide community needs to obtain a fundamental understanding of how graphene oxide works in each application in order to tailor the material used.

    If you would be interested in the R&D team at William Blythe working on custom synthesis of a specific graphene oxide grade for your research, please get in touch.

    Reference: ACS Nano 2016, 10, 10966-10980

    What is Graphene Oxide?

    What is Graphene Oxide?

    Graphene oxide is part of the graphene family – two dimensional materials based on a honeycomb framework of carbon atoms. While graphene is pure carbon, graphene oxide has a series of oxygen functionalities decorating the surface of the honeycomb carbon structure. The oxygen functional groups can be complex, often containing alcohol, acid and epoxy units.

    The presence of oxygen groups leads to significantly different properties when comparing graphene and graphene oxide. For example, graphene oxide can disperse easily in water, while graphene will not disperse. This is because the oxygen groups make graphene oxide a hydrophilic material, allowing water molecules to intercalate between the layers, separating them and forming a stable dispersion. As graphene is a hydrophobic material, this does not occur when trying to disperse graphene in water.

    Another interesting difference between graphene and graphene oxide are their conductive properties, in terms of both thermal and electrical conductivity. While graphene has exceptionally high conductivity, graphene oxide is considered an insulator. Both materials have the same carbon framework, and as such the difference in functionality is directly related to the presence of the oxygen groups. The lower the oxygen content in graphene oxide, the higher the conductivity of the material.

    There are some instances where the dispersion characteristics of graphene oxide are needed, but the properties of graphene are more relevant. In these instances, it is sometimes possible to convert graphene oxide into a material more similar to graphene in situ. This is done by reducing the graphene oxide, either chemically or thermally, to leave reduced graphene oxide. Reduced graphene oxide has a significantly lower oxygen content than graphene oxide, resulting in properties much closer to those of graphene. Reduced graphene oxide is distinguished from graphene because it will not have a pristine surface – the removal of oxygen groups usually leaves some defects on the surface, including some remaining oxygen functionality. For many applications, the surface of reduced graphene oxide is appropriate for yielding the desired functionality, in other instances the defects can lead to new, different properties for the material which make it interesting in its own right.

    For more information on graphene oxide and how it could be of use for your research, please get in touch and a member of our team will be happy to discuss your work.

    New Graphene Oxide Analysis Page

    New Graphene Oxide Analysis Page

    The GOgraphene team have added a new Graphene Oxide Analysis page to the webshop

    There are currently no industry standards for analysing graphene related materials, however as the volume of research surrounding this exciting family of two dimensional materials grows, best practises for analysis are emerging. In order to provide the most relevant information to GOgraphene customers, William Blythe has worked extensively to gather high quality analysis using the techniques most appropriate to characterise the graphene oxide materials manufactured at their site in the UK.

    Previously, William Blythe has communicated new graphene oxide analysis via the blog and in the specification of the products available online. To make this information easier to access, a new Graphene Oxide Analysis page has been added to the GOgraphene site. Information currently available on the page includes XPS (X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy), TGA (thermogravimetric analysis), AFM (atomic force microscopy), and SEM (scanning electron microscopy) on typical batches of their graphene oxide products. Wherever possible, the results are backed up with visual representations of the analysis, generally in the form of the raw data obtained by William Blythe on their products. The intention of this page is to provide GOgraphene customers with direct access to the most up-to date information on the products they are purchasing. As new analysis is obtained by William Blythe on their products, new entries will be added to the page and any existing information will be updated if new data becomes available. Any new additions to the Graphene Oxide Analysis page will be communicated via the GOgraphene blog, with all entries on the Graphene Oxide Analysis page entered in alphabetical order to make navigation to the data easier.

    William Blythe intends to support the development of commercial applications for graphene oxide materials by working with customers. If you have any questions about the analytical results displayed on this site, or would like the GOgraphene team to consider carrying out other characterisation techniques on their products, please get in touch and a member of the team will be happy to discuss your needs further.

    Happy New Year from GOgraphene

    Last year was a busy year for the GOgraphene team, with the launch of the graphene oxide webshop in August 2016. Over the past few months GOgraphene have worked hard to improve the site based on customer feedback. This has led to the addition of an FAQ page to help customers understand more about graphene oxide as a material as well as the products available through their webshop. GOgraphene have also added a new Delivery Charges page to allow customers the opportunity to estimate their delivery charges before they proceed to checkout. Delivery charges are based on the shipping destination, with free shipping on all orders over $500.

    As well as adding new pages, the GOgraphene team have also added graphene oxide flake to their product listings. As a product, the GOgraphene team believe this sits well between the graphene oxide powder and aqueous dispersions previously available on the site. This is because graphene oxide flake allows customers to use their graphene oxide in non-aqueous systems but at a lower cost than the freeze dried powder. The difference in cost is a direct consequence of the alternative drying technique used. It should be noted that graphene oxide flake will not be suitable for all researchers as it will need high energy sonication to achieve a dispersion while the freeze dried powder will disperse with mild sonication.

    The GOgraphene team would like to take this as an opportunity to thank all of their customers for their support in 2016. It has been an exciting year and since the launch last summer support for GOgraphene has continued to grow. We would like to wish everyone a happy new year and look forward to all of the graphene oxide research to come in 2017.