Graphene has proven itself as a wonder material with a vast range of unique properties. Among the least-known marvels of graphene is its strange love affair with water.
Graphene is hydrophobic – it repels water – but narrow capillaries made from graphene vigorously suck in water allowing its rapid permeation, if the water layer is only one atom thick – that is, as thin as graphene itself. This bizarre property has attracted intense academic and industrial interest with intent to develop new water filtration and desalination technologies.
One-atom-wide graphene capillaries can now be made easily and cheaply by piling layers of graphene oxide – a derivative of graphene – on top of each other. The resulting multilayer stacks (laminates) have a structure similar to nacre (mother of pearl), which makes them also mechanically strong. Via Graphene’s love affair with water.