Scalable production of graphene via wet chemistry: Progress and challenges
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Although enormous scientific progress has been made in the application of graphene and its related materials, the cost-effective and scalable production of graphene still holds the key to its commercialization. If this aspect cannot be successfully addressed, it may eventually struggle for widespread use, such as has occurred for its allotrope, the carbon nanotubes. Ease of graphene production is especially important if it is to be used in bulk applications such as energy storage in automobiles where the large scale and low cost production of the active materials is required. Fortunately, graphene can be produced not only from a cheap and abundant source (graphite), but also can be produced using a variety of low cost methods. This focus review article will examine three promising, scalable methods of graphene production, namely the graphite oxide, liquid-phase exfoliation (LPE) and electrochemical routes, with focus on their recent progress and remaining challenges. The perspective on these routes will be mainly taken from the industrial viewpoint, thus highlighting the pressing issues for graphene commercialization. Some of the main concerns regarding the quality or crystallinity of the graphene sheet produced from such methods and the importance of a comprehensive evaluation of the final bulk graphene materials will also be discussed.
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