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25th November 2013

“Miracle material” graphene to be used in condoms

Researchers attempt to make graphene-based condoms.

Scientists at the University of Manchester have been given funding to develop a new condom using graphene and latex.

Graphene is made up of only a single layer of carbon atoms, but is stronger than diamonds.  Condoms made from graphene will be stronger, yet thinner and safer too.

Professor Aravind Vijayaraghavan of Manchester’s School of Materials said, “This composite material will be tailored to enhance the natural sensation during intercourse while using a condom, which should encourage and promote condom use.”

He added, “This will be achieved by combining the strength of graphene with the elasticity of latex to produce a new material which can be thinner, stronger, more stretchy, safer and, perhaps most importantly, more pleasurable.”

Professor Vijayaraghavan has been awarded £62,000 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in an attempt to solve health problems in developing countries—particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Researchers Sir Andrew Geim and Sir Kostya Novoselov from the University of Manchester won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 for their discovery of graphene.

Nicknamed the “ miracle material,” graphene’s lightweight quality, tensile strength, transparency  and ability to conduct electricity has made it a hit with researchers.

It is currently being adjusted for use in electrical equipment, new types of solar panels, lightweight body armour as well as non-stick coatings on pans.

It is hoped that graphene-based condoms will be more desirable to use and therefore encourage the widespread use of condoms.  This in turn could have a knock-on effect in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and reducing unplanned pregnancies.

Professor Vijayaraghavan  explained his hopes for incorporating graphene into everyday materials.

“Since its isolation in 2004, people have wondered when graphene will be used in our daily life.

“Currently, people imagine using graphene in mobile-phone screens, food packaging and chemical sensors.

“If this project is successful, we might have a use for graphene which will touch our everyday life in the most intimate way.”

 


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