Researchers at Brown University warn of the dangers of graphene’s jagged edges. And a team at the University of California also warns that graphene oxide moves smoothly through water. Both side effects endanger the environment.
Harmful to People and the Earth
We are still flirting with graphene, the material of the future, which is characterized by being incredibly light, strong, flexible and highly conductive, both for heat and electricity. The substance with almost magical properties, on whose shoulders rest the hopes of manufacturers for the near future, it turns out that it could be harmful to the environment and, consequently, to humans.
Researchers from Brown University and the University of California warn of the dangers of graphene: they have discovered that the oxide of this material, a residue formed when the material is exposed to air, moves easily through water.
They also warn of the dangers of the material’s jagged edges.
The team of biologists, engineers and scientists at Brown University thoroughly investigated the potential toxicity of graphene in human cells. They found that the material’s jagged edges can easily puncture cell membranes and skin, suggesting the possibility of serious harm to humans and other animals.
“These materials can be inhaled voluntarily or involuntarily,” says Robert Hurt, professor of engineering and one of the study’s authors, “so we want to understand how this graphene oxide interacts with cells once it’s in the body.
Another danger of graphene is pointed out by the University of California, which studied how graphene oxide nanoparticles can also interact with the environment. The team found that in groundwater sources where there is little organic material and the water has a high degree of hardness, graphene oxide nanoparticles tend to be less stable and disappear.
But in surface waters such as lakes or rivers, where there is more organic material and less hardness, the particles remain much more stable and show a tendency to travel farther.