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crumpled graphene

Crumpled Sheet

Graphene, a sheet of pure carbon that looks something like chicken wire under a microscope, has some great optical, electrical and mechanical properties, making it useful for electronics, energy storage, composite materials and biomedicine. But it's also notorious for crumpling up and sticking to itself like a wet piece of tissue paper, says Xuanhe Zhao, assistant professor in Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering. In a January 20, 2013 Nature Materials paper, Zhao and colleagues describe layering graphene with polymer films to make a material that can act like muscle tissue by contracting and expanding on demand in response to voltage.