Analysis of the materials and energy cost to manufacture graphene by roll-based chemical vapor deposition
Author(s)Hanlon, Henry M.(Henry M. S.)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering.
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A single layer of graphite, called graphene, has immense promise as a material. Despite being essentially two-dimensional, graphene is stronger than steel in tension. The material has extremely high electron mobilities even at room temperature. It can be used as a filter and has the added benefit of being transparent. Despite this impressive resume, graphene remains the topic of scientific papers and not dinner tables. One of the reasons for this is the difficulty and associated costs of mass manufacture. This paper proposes parameters for the production of graphene via roll-to-roll chemical vapor deposition, through the lens of eight case study experiments. Once the parameters are understood, the paper seeks to provide variable cost estimates, focused mostly on the cost of materials and energy required for this process. The analysis reveals that cost of production depends heavily on the substrate -- commonly copper (typically $40 m⁻²) -- and specifically the thickness and quality or purity of the metal. Considering process parameters based on literature reports of roll-based graphene synthesis, the costs of energy and gasses are significantly less, approximately $1.74 and $1.11 per m⁻², respectively. The equipment based on currently available prices is approximately $ 1 m⁻². Future experiments or for-profit production should explore different substrates, the recycling of copper substrates, optimization of the gas flow rates and furnace insulation, or multi-side production of graphene.
Thesis: S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, May, 2020Cataloged from the official PDF of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 18-20).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology