A new type of graphene aerogel will make for better energy storage, sensors, nanoelectronics, catalysis, and separations. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory made graphene aerogel microlattices with an engineered architecture via a 3D printing technique known as direct ink writing. The 3D printed graphene aerogels have high surface area, excellent electrical conductivity, are lightweight, have mechanical stiffness, and exhibit super-compressibility.
Aerogel is a synthetic, porous, ultralight material derived from a gel, in which the liquid component of the gel has been replaced with a gas. It is often referred to as “liquid smoke.” Previous attempts at creating bulk graphene aerogels produced a largely random pore structure. 3D printing enables intelligent design of the pore structure of the aerogel, permitting control over mass transport, and optimizing physical properties such as stiffness.