Graphene wonder condom

A team of scientists in the UK have used graphene, the carbon wonder material, to develop a prototype next-generation condom, which will be lighter, thinner and stronger than currently available. The material is a composite of graphene and latex.

For this work, a team from The University of Manchester, headed by Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan, are receiving a Grand Challenges Explorations grant of $100,000 (approximately €75,000) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to further develop the composite material for the condom of the future.

The development is set to truly put graphene on the map. The material, which is composed of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, has been known about for some time. It is exceptionally strong and lightweight, as well as being just one atom thick and electrically conductive. The range of impressive characteristics means that the theoretical applications are almost endless.

In this case, the idea is to make the experience of using a condom safer as well as more pleasurable, Dr Vijayaraghavan explains. The combination of super-strong graphene with stretchy latex results in a material that is thinner, stronger and more elastic. Together, this means a safer and more enjoyable experience all round.

Graphene was isolated as a distinct form of carbon in 2004. Since discovering its various characteristics, its potential has been put forward in any number of applications, from smart-phone screens to food packaging. Now, it seems there is a very real material application too.

One of the goals of the latex-graphene hybrid condom is to make the condom easier and more desirable for use, hopefully leading to an increase in their usage. So these deceptively simple carbon sheets may end up influencing our lives in subtle ways, doing more for us than we ever imagined.

Graphene images via Manchester University, condom image via Newsone.

More information is here.