- Scientists often talk about carbon. What types of things contain carbon?
- The properties of carbon can be changed by temperature and pressure. Give
some common examples.
- What’s the name of the material inside your pencil that allows you to write?
And what’s this material made from?
- How much thicker is a piece of paper than a sheet of graphene?
- Compare graphene’s strength to that of steel.
- Where can you find graphene at school?
- How long ago did scientists first isolate graphene?
- Besides its strength and thickness, name two other major properties of
- How much does graphene cost?
- What do “magic liquids” have to do with graphene?
- Why are scientists especially excited about using graphene for electronics?
(Hint: How might size fit into this?)
- Using what you’ve learned from the story, why do you think graphene is
likely to change electronics in the next five years — or not? Explain your
- The author describes graphene as being a “wonder material.” Is this a
reasonable description or an exaggeration? Explain your assessment.
- Scientists had thought they might be able to make supersmall circuitry with
carbon nanotubes. Why does graphene look even more promising? (Hint: You can
learn more at Science News. See: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/8955/title/Electron_Superhighway)
- If graphene is in pencil lead and other common materials, why does
research-grade graphene cost so much?
- Diamonds are a special form of carbon that can be found only in a few
isolated deposits around the globe. What about graphene? How widely available is
this type of carbon for mining? (Hint: Where does pencil lead come from?)
- Write new lyrics to a popular song (for instance: “Somewhere Over the
Rainbow,” “Do Your Ears Hang Low,” or some theme from a popular TV show) that
explain the many special features of graphene.
- If you were offered a pound of graphene sheets or a diamond the size of
your fist, which would you choose? And what would you do with it? Explain your
answer—and reasoning—in three paragraphs.