Graphene and graphene-based nanocomposites
The preparation and characterisation of graphene and graphene oxide are described. The structure and properties of both of these materials are then reviewed and it is shown that although graphene possesses superior mechanical properties, they both have high levels of stiffness and strength. In particular it is demonstrated how Raman spectroscopy can be used to characterise the different forms of graphene and also follow the deformation of graphene in model composite systems. The model systems are interpreted using continuum mechanics, allowing the prediction of the minimum flake dimensions and optimum number of layers required for good reinforcement. The preparation of bulk nanocomposites based upon graphene and graphene oxide is described and the structural and functional properties of the composites are reviewed. Finally, the challenges that remain in obtaining useful graphene-based nanocomposites are discussed.