Anomalous Strength Characteristics of Tilt Grain Boundaries in Graphene

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Science  12 Nov 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6006, pp. 946-948
DOI: 10.1126/science.1196893

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Graphene in its pristine form is one of the strongest materials tested, but defects influence its strength. Using atomistic calculations, we find that, counter to standard reasoning, graphene sheets with large-angle tilt boundaries that have a high density of defects are as strong as the pristine material and, unexpectedly, are much stronger than those with low-angle boundaries having fewer defects. We show that this trend is not explained by continuum fracture models but can be understood by considering the critical bonds in the strained seven-membered carbon rings that lead to failure; the large-angle boundaries are stronger because they are able to better accommodate these strained rings. Our results provide guidelines for designing growth methods to obtain sheets with strengths close to that of pristine graphene.

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