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Graphene Layers ‘Harder Than Diamonds’ Can Stop Bullets

There might just be a new kind of bulletproof material.

Graphene has had many contributions to advances in material science. It is essentially a very tight sheet of carbon atoms that is thinner than a regular sheet of paper, but it has multiple physical properties that makes it extremely useful, Ubergizmo reports.

Researchers have been constantly looking more into how this versatile material can be used, and scientists at the Advanced Science Research Centre at the City University of New York have now created a bulletproof graphene material that becomes even harder than diamonds when impacted by a fast-moving object, such as a bullet.

The team was able to make this material by layering sheets of graphene together to form a bulletproof suit. The scientists then used an atomistic computer to come up with simulations of impact in order to see that the potential outcomes would be when two sheets of graphene in a honeycomb layer are put through sudden, intense pressure.

They tested their theory using an atomic force microscope to study the graphene sheets grown on plates on silicon carbide to check on results due to applied pressure.

This extremely tough material is called diamine, and is thinner than aluminum foil. Upon impact, the material shifts immediately, making it very effective at stopping bullets. But this only works for two layers of graphene, the researchers found, as the transition does not happen with only one layer or more than two layers of graphene.

Elisa Riedo, professor of physics at the ASRC and lead researcher on the study, said,

This is the thinnest film with the stiffness and hardness of diamond ever created.

Angelo Bongiorno, associate professor of chemistry at CUNY College of Staten Island, also on the team, added, “Our new technique allows us to manipulate graphite so that it can take on the beneficial properties of a diamond under specific conditions.”

The study was published in Nature Nanotechnology.

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