What's the difference between graphite, graphite oxide, graphene oxide and such?
First we have to understand what graphene oxide is. Graphite oxide – graphene oxide - rGO/ From graphite oxide, oxidisation agents are used to cause a reaction that increases the interplanar spacing between the layers of graphite. Importantly, this allows the oxidised graphite oxide to be dispersed in a base solvent like water and such so that graphene oxide can be produced.
Both graphite oxide and graphene oxide are chemically similar but structurally different. The main difference is through the oxidisation that changes the interplanar spacing. Now the most important thing to know is the reduction of GO into rGO. This determines the quality and how close the rGO will be to pristine graphene-based on the methods used. Of course, the rGO we used is not almost pristine graphene as that is unnecessary for our application and an added cost to our product.
What are the key benefits of graphene?
Firstly, we need to understand that many surfaces treated with coating products still face the dreadful issue of corrosion, or some other terms to describe it, watermarks, water etching, spotting.
In tropical regions and summer, heat and UV from the sun can have a detrimental effect on surfaces. Heated surfaces soften and weakens. Any substances like bug splatter, bird droppings, plant sap or even leftover rainwater will heat up and become more reactive. This allows the substances, both acidic or alkali to cause damage or corrode surfaces easily, resulting in marks, etching and spotting. In colder regions and winter, contaminants like present in ice/snow is just as damaging to surfaces. The use of salt to deice roads adds to the problems.
PDMS when compared to many other base components like SiO2, has a lower thermal conductivity, thus lowering the absorption of heat. This reduces the chances of substances reacting on treated surfaces. The slickness/smoothness of PDMS reduces the ability of ice/snow from sticking onto surfaces.
The rGO we used has shown the ability to help our product resist corrosion, disperse heat quickly and reinforce polymer matrixes (denser polymer). rGO is used with the purpose of reinforcing the toughness of PDMS, prolonging their durability and ability to stay on treated surfaces. While PDMS itself already possess great anti-corrosion capabilities, rGO by itself is an excellent anti-corrosion material to supplement PDMS.