Graphene is known to be a carbon allotrope, and it is a part of the aromatic molecules. It is also known to be a basic structural element of all the other known allotropes. It is the building block for all the materials of graphite too. Graphene has exceptional properties which include thickness for the strength of it, low density, transparent nature, excellent conduction of heat and electricity and diamagnetism. All these properties together make graphene a very strong material, and due to all these properties, it is highly being used as well. Graphene has many applications as well, but the most remarkable ones are in the military. It is used for the manufacturing of robots, ballistic protection, to reduce the weight of protection armour, in aviation and for the manufacturing of lightweight, comfortable and protective helmets. All these applications of graphene in the military are serving a great purpose and are thoroughly being promoted too because they bring ease in this field by all means and are in no means harmful. The recent researches have already made sure that the usage of graphene in the military in upcoming years will be increased as to uplift the resources that it is providing to the human race and technological race as well.
Graphene is one of the allotropes of carbon present in the form of a two dimensioned lattice of the hexagon and with only a single layer of atoms, but one atom from each vertex is present. It belongs to the category of aromatic molecules, and that is why graphene is ought to be perpetually a big aromatic molecule. The basic structure of graphene is the same as of those other allotropes which include carbon nanotubes, charcoal, graphite and fullerenes. Also, graphene is considered as a basic structural element of all the other allotropes. Graphene is known to be the strongest material. It is harder than a diamond but on the other hand more elastic than rubber, and it is tougher than steel but on the other hand lighter than the aluminium. The building block for all the other materials of graphite is known to be graphene. All these materials are two dimensional where height which is the third dimension is always considered as zero. In contrast, length and width are the other two dimensions as they extend into two dimensions. Still, it presents the materials which are one atom thick only yet possess two dimensions, and graphene is one such material.
Properties of graphene
Graphene possesses a very distinctive set of properties which makes it unique in its self.
If we look at the thickness of graphene, then we will know that its thickness is a hundred times more and strong than the strongest steel present.
Through the thickness of graphene is much stronger, but the density of graphene is very much low in comparison to any steel as compared to the thickness. It has a surface mass equal to 0.763mg per square meter.
Due to its nature being transparent, it is extremely efficient in the conduction of heat and electricity.
Other than the properties mentioned above, graphene also shows a huge and nonlinear diamagnetism which is even better and greater than the graphite itself. Researchers have also shown that graphene has bipolar transistor effect, ballistic transport of charges and the large quantum oscillations.
Applications of graphene in the military
Graphene is a very beneficial material and has many applications, but the many applications but the prominent ones are mentioned below:
Manufacturing of robot suits:
The most famous application of graphene is considered to be the manufacturing of the robot suits. These are the costumes which are specially designed for the soldiers, and they tend to have the potential to fight against any attack yet stay safe. It is also very helpful in one of the issues of today that is the environmental deterioration problem. It keeps one safe from all those hazards too.
Graphene for ballistic protection applications:
Graphene has an exceptional ability in the protection technologies of the personal bullet. Evidence from the tests carried out by the impact of military ammunition show that there were some researchers from Spain who manufactured a non-composite material which was reinforced with graphene and that has technically brought improvement in the original composite material in regards to the mechanical properties. That same study showed that exceptional improvements in graphene reinforced compounds related to ballistic protection. All these tests were carried out under the collaboration of the Marine Corps. After these tests, a new nanocomposite was developed, and this came out as a nanocomposite with an improved ballistic limit in contrast to the previous and original laminate. It also presented a better ability to dissolve the energy impacted, which was all without decreasing the intensity of this. All the results which came out after the tests and the developments were then presented at a very reputable conference Graphene Week 2017 which took place in Athens. The different companies and international organizations which were present in that conference showed a great deal of interest in this newly presented technology.
Graphene to reduce the weight of protection armour:
Various studies show that there are a few researchers present at Imperial College London who are focusing on lessening the weight of protection armour. The study that they carried out hypothesised that if they refine the internal layer of Kevlar, they will possibly be able to lessen the size of the ceramic layer, which is the external layer. According to this hypothesis, they will be able to make the vest comfortable and very much lighter. The first choice for this was spider silk, but at the instance, the realization came that spider silk would be very costly, and ultimately it will become very difficult. So instead of using spider silk, they took the silkworms and because the silk of silkworms is not as resistant as the spider silk, so they decided to add graphene to it. The researchers of Imperial College indicated to make composite and thin films; it is the best method to use the mixture of silk and graphene. Later on, all the experiments showed that if we add silk and graphene, it will upsurge the strength of the composite. Strength is the main component to get the efficacy of the material. The composite of silk and graphene is very lightweight and transparent, and it has all the properties which are essential for using this material beyond armour.
Graphene in Aviation
Graphene is aviation is one of the new opportunities for military aircraft. Up till today, due to the immense and excellent properties of graphene, it has the most widely used application in the fields of science and engineering. This is due to the confirmation that graphene brings improvement as it enhances the characteristics of all the materials which have graphene in them. The main beneficence that graphene introduces in military aviation is that it brings no harm to the aircraft fuselage. At the same time, it is being exposed to low temperatures.
In contrast, it enhances the safety of all the flights because then no extra investments for treating the various kinds of aircraft liquid deicing operations. Currently, a prototype of this aircraft has already been made. For the record, researchers and experts were able to find out that if we use composite materials which are all solely based on graphene because it provides the aircraft with improved aerodynamic characteristics. This happens more because of the decreasing of drag in a flight. Altogether this causes the friction force in aviation to decrease up to either five or seven percent ultimately, which lowers the fuel consumption which is indeed a breakthrough and is essential for the military and civil aviation industry. Further researches showed that the composite materials having graphene in them could lessen the weight of aircraft, which is a very important advantage of graphene in military aviation along with all the other advantages. Graphene composite materials also increase the strength and durability fuselage parts of an aircraft, and these materials also increase the resistance of the aircraft by ten percent. In one of the tests, it was found out that graphene is capable of standing a thunderbolt too which is an essential aspect of the aviation industry and it is applied to all the large and small aviation where the number of aircraft mishaps has been increased to seventy-five percent because of coming in contact with lighting in all the recent years. Also, scientists have said that by the year 2020 they will be able to design a cost-effective aircraft solely based on graphene.
Graphene to manufacture lightweight and more comfortable military helmets:
Another important use of graphene in the military is in the helmets specially built for the soldiers to fight on the battlefield. The reason why graphene is used in military helmets is that it lowers the weight of the helmet to a very high extent. Seeing the benefits of graphene helmets on the battlefield, the market has launched graphene helmets for motorcycles too. This helmet is built to provide comfort and ensure the safety of soldiers wearing it. The layer of graphene allows a great deal of distribution of the impact force, which in return makes the helmet less vulnerable to any sort of injuries. It is helpful even in situations where the temperature is high. Along with all the other perks, graphene helmets last longer than all the other helmets.
Graphene is one of the allotropes of carbon has exceptional properties in all the fields but especially in the military. It is making the life of military soldiers and the efficacy of military products very secured. Graphene has a lot of benefits, and gladly it is now being used at a greater level to take full advantage of all the benefits that it provides the human race with. However, all the researches show too that graphene is very important and beneficial in the military that it will prove itself to allow the improvement at a higher level in all the fields in which it is being used.