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Atom-Thick Balloon Inflated

ScuttleMonkey posted about 6 years ago | from the only-a-little-hot-air dept.

Science 120

Anonymous Cow writes "Researchers have inflated gas-filled balloons of graphene, the atom-thick carbon material being used to make super-small transistors. Apart from giving them a valid claim to be in the Guinness Book of Records, it could apparently be handy for weighing microscopic objects. 'The sheets were used to seal microscopic wells made in a layer of silica glass, forming a kind of drum head. The membranes were held in place only by the van der Waals forces that make things sticky at microscopic scales. The wells varied from 1 to 100 square micrometers in area and 250 nanometers to 3 micrometers deep.'"

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Great! (4, Funny)

ArcherB (796902) | about 6 years ago | (#24531191)

Just Friggin Great!
Now my kid's going to want one of THESE tied to her wrist!

Re:Great! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24531863)

I already know that your wife wants mine blown up inside her.

Re:Great! (3, Funny)

zish (174783) | about 6 years ago | (#24532483)

Wow! I wonder how true that is, if you can only get 3 micrometers deep!

Re:Great! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24533921)

Given that a single atom thickness will probably be invisible, she will be just as happy if you make an imaginary balloon for her to tie to her wrist! Imaginary stuff is a lot cheaper than real stuff and a typical small child will be just as happy (if not more so when you imagine with them).

(((pop))) (3, Funny)

isomeme (177414) | about 6 years ago | (#24531201)

This will immediately lead to a companion record for the world's quietest popping sound when one of them has a weak point.

Re:(((pop))) (2, Funny)

non0score (890022) | about 6 years ago | (#24531385)

And the first mass-market mechanical use will be for bubble wraps. "Now with more bubbles for you to pop!"

Re:(((pop))) (2, Funny)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | about 6 years ago | (#24532063)

Note that in order to pop this balloon you need to find a pin that is at least two atoms thick.

Prick? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24531211)

Do we have an atom thick needle to prick it?

Re:Prick? (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 years ago | (#24531231)

CmdrTaco's penis.

I think they've just upped the ante... (2, Insightful)

Channard (693317) | about 6 years ago | (#24531237)

.. on making balloon animals. Let's see how creative balloon sculptors can get with these!

Re:I think they've just upped the ante... (4, Funny)

isomeme (177414) | about 6 years ago | (#24531581)

At last, life-size balloon bacteria!

Re:I think they've just upped the ante... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 6 years ago | (#24531987)

Or the world's smallest water balloon splash.

consumer uses (5, Insightful)

jgarra23 (1109651) | about 6 years ago | (#24531295)

this will be the thinnest condom ever!

Re:consumer uses (3, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | about 6 years ago | (#24531335)

this will be the thinnest condom ever!

That's not as daft as you might think, for many people the stated reason for not using condoms is lack of sensitivity caused by their thickness.

Were there a way to reduce thickness to this extent, there would be a huge amount of money to be made.

Re:consumer uses (2, Insightful)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 6 years ago | (#24531571)

Were there a way to reduce thickness to this extent, there would be a huge amount of money to be made.

In lawsuits when they break. One atom thick? That's makes for some pretty sharp edges of busted condom to have in sensitive places for both parties.

Re:consumer uses (3, Informative)

thermian (1267986) | about 6 years ago | (#24531617)

At that level I think you'll find that connection strength is somewhat strong.

Re:consumer uses (4, Informative)

ardle (523599) | about 6 years ago | (#24531675)

And so are the van der Waals forces.

Re:consumer uses (5, Funny)

thermian (1267986) | about 6 years ago | (#24531765)

What! Who let the physicists in?

Listen you, this is the internets, we can't be dealing with your smug 'fundamental laws of the universe' stuff.

If it don't explode, or have boobies, it ain't interesting, YOU GOT THAT!!!!!

Re:consumer uses (2, Informative)

reverseengineer (580922) | about 6 years ago | (#24532763)

Well, I think the grandparent post is making the implication that due to substantial van der Waals forces (the forces that hold sheets of graphene together as graphite, as well as the forces most responsible for making sticky things sticky), a graphene monolayer condom would be sort of like covering your penis in double-sided adhesive tape. I'm going to make the argument that this little factoid could, under the right (wrong?) circumstances, could conceivably fall in both categories deemed interesting to the internets.

Re:consumer uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24532949)

Who says a 1 atom thick condom would even prevent sperm and stds from passing through it?

Re:consumer uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24533461)

Who says a 1 atom thick condom would even prevent sperm and stds from passing through it?

The article.
If it's impermeable to gases, chances are it won't let something with larger molecules and other such clumps of atoms through either.

Not to say that is a guaranteed assumption, but it does answer your question fairly directly.

Re:consumer uses (4, Funny)

thermian (1267986) | about 6 years ago | (#24533027)

I was going to construct an elegant and incisive rebuttal to your comment, but your use of the term 'graphene monolayer' confused me, and I find myself resorting to a response of lower intellectual calibre.

To whit

"So's your face"

I am reliably informed that this always works, therefore I win..

Re:consumer uses (2, Informative)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | about 6 years ago | (#24533123)

except of course it's totaly erroneous anyway, as the thickness of the johnny doesn't mean it's any closer to your skin, which is the important factor in any Van der Waals interaction.

Re:consumer uses (2, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | about 6 years ago | (#24534127)

a graphene monolayer condom would be sort of like covering your penis in double-sided adhesive tape.

Soft silicon is often used for sex toys, and when very clean and dry they are also very sticky. As soon as you add a few drops of lubricant, that stickiness vanishes. I'd imagine that it would be the same with a graphene condom. Van der Waals forces don't have much range, so a few microns layering of Glycerin should make that a none issue.

Is there any reason why van der Waals forces would be any strong for a one atom thick material than for a million atom thick material? IANAP

Re:consumer uses (2, Interesting)

Cornflake917 (515940) | about 6 years ago | (#24532095)

I'm not a physicist or whatever engineer that deals with sharp edges of materials, but doesn't the material have to be hard (or have some other property) in order to pose a risk for cutting. For example when a piece of latex, the edges of broken part would be "sharp" (very thin) but since the material is flimsy it would bend before causing damage to other materials. I guess my point is there is a different between thin and sharp.

Re:consumer uses (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | about 6 years ago | (#24532269)

Paper is thin, flimsy, and will cut pretty bad.

That's not to say a 1-atom-thick anything will cut, but just because it's thin and flimsy doesn't meant it's harmless. I do think you're on to something with the difference between thin and sharp...

Re:consumer uses (2, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | about 6 years ago | (#24532747)

You are right. There is difference between thin and sharp, at least in the context you are putting it in. In Geology it would not matter how thin the edge is of a rock. If it was lower on the Moh's scale than the other material, it would not cut it.

As for the poster that mentioned paper, well the edge of piece of paper is probably harder than human skin.

Re:consumer uses (1)

Original Replica (908688) | about 6 years ago | (#24534187)

If it was lower on the Moh's scale than the other material, it would not cut it.

Since graphene is the sheet form of graphite, and graphite is less than one on the Moh's scale, cutting shouldn't be an issue. But if the graphene condom is made flawlessly, it should never break because it will be the strongest material ever made. [technologyreview.com]

Re:consumer uses (2, Informative)

jgarra23 (1109651) | about 6 years ago | (#24531609)


That's not as daft as you might think, for many people the stated reason for not using condoms is lack of sensitivity caused by their thickness.

Were there a way to reduce thickness to this extent, there would be a huge amount of money to be made.

You're 100% right & I knew that as I posted- it's a common topic with me & gf since she (understandably) isn't too cool with hormone-based contraceptives.

Re:consumer uses (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#24531719)

I never quite understood how "the pill" got so popular to begin with. Messing with your hormones is not a good idea. When so many other good methods exist, it's a miracle that women actually want to take medication, and mess with their bodies, to prevent having kids.

Re:consumer uses (2, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 6 years ago | (#24531937)

For many women, it helps regulate what can be a very erratic menstrual cycle. Some women also experience a lightening of the cycle because the pill evens out their hormones. At the time, it was also by far the most effective method of birth control, as the proper use of the pill is much more common than proper use of condoms and even when it's not quite properly used, it's still much more effective than no condom at all.

Re:consumer uses (1)

DeadManCoding (961283) | about 6 years ago | (#24531957)

And for some women, my guess is that taking medication and messing with hormones is worth it when compared to having kids.

Re:consumer uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24531959)

I don't mind women being on birth control because they can't use their periods as lame excuses to be bitches. The pill is a godsend to males and females alike. Nothing kills your freedom/GPA/social life like having to take care of a crying, puking, shitting money-hole. Not to mention the kid growing up in a household where he/she won't feel wanted. Having sex with a condom is like trying to write an OS in Java!

Re:consumer uses (1)

no1home (1271260) | about 6 years ago | (#24532741)

And people wonder why you're A) single or B)in a lousy relationship with someone as bitter as you.

Re:consumer uses (1)

operagost (62405) | about 6 years ago | (#24531963)

Because condoms don't feel good and they break?

Re:consumer uses (2, Informative)

i love pineapples (742841) | about 6 years ago | (#24531977)

I never quite understood how "the pill" got so popular to begin with. Messing with your hormones is not a good idea. When so many other good methods exist, it's a miracle that women actually want to take medication, and mess with their bodies, to prevent having kids.

All methods have their issues:

IUDs- near impossible to convince a doctor to give you unless you are married and have had children already (chance of damaging the uterus)

Tubal ligation- Most doctors will not perform on a nulparous woman. Expensive.

Diaphragms/caps/sponges- difficult to insert, messy (some require lots of spermicide), lack of spontaneity, not as effective as IUDs and hormonal BC

Condoms- perceived loss of sensation, sometimes ill-fitting, chance of breakage, sensitivities to ingredients, lack of spontaneity, not as effective as IUDs and hormonal BC

The benefit of messing with hormones, means less painful and/or excessively heavy menstruation, and a decrease the risk of ovarian cysts and cancers (as it stops ovulation.) Personally, I'd rather have an IUD, but that's not going to happen.

Re:consumer uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24533399)

IUDs- near impossible to convince a doctor to give you unless you are married and have had children already (chance of damaging the uterus)

Uh, I think that's not very accurate and even if it were, it's not difficult to get around (i.e., see another doctor).

The main problem with IUDs is that it can cause severe discomfort or pain. That said, the women I know who've used it prefer it to any other form of contraception. Definitely go with copper, if you're going to get one.

Re:consumer uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24534401)

What does nulparous mean? There are three results on google for this word, one of which is this very post [google.com] ...

Re:consumer uses (1)

Usekh (557680) | about 6 years ago | (#24532545)

You know what else -really- messes with your hormones, and indeed your body. Pregnancy.

The pill gives women direct control over their own fertility. It is relatively cheap and easy and effective, and non invasive. What else has all those attributes?

Re:consumer uses (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#24533575)

How you you call something that messes with the completely natural cycle of the body to be non-invasive?

Re:consumer uses (1)

LordAlced (1279598) | about 6 years ago | (#24534125)

"Non-invasive" in medical terms is when you do not have to open up the body and/or insert/implant foreign objects. Surgery to remove a hyperfunctioning thyroid gland is an invasive procedure. Taking radioiodine to ablate it is not.

Re:consumer uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24531751)

Actually, she (understandably) isn't cool with having a child with you... it's not the hormones

Re:consumer uses (2, Informative)

Gat0r30y (957941) | about 6 years ago | (#24531861)

Why wait? Just make your own! [technologyreview.com]

One common technique is called the "Scotch tape method," in which a piece of tape is used to peel graphene flakes off of a chunk of graphite, which is essentially a stack of graphene sheets

not sure how to make that into a functioning prophylactic, but the methods and materials to make graphene are readily available.

Re:consumer uses (1)

poached (1123673) | about 6 years ago | (#24533371)

this balloon was used to contain gas, not liquid.

Re:consumer uses (5, Funny)

DeadDecoy (877617) | about 6 years ago | (#24531471)

At

1 to 100 square micrometers in area and 250 nanometers to 3 micrometers deep

I'm sure it'll be perfect for you.

Re:consumer uses (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24531507)

Holy fucking ZING!!!

(bonus pun in there)

Re:consumer uses (1)

rubberbando (784342) | about 6 years ago | (#24533847)

this will be the thinnest condom ever!

Ahh and being made of graphite, it will be perfect for guys with pencil dicks.. :-P

...sticky at microscopic scales (3, Funny)

peipas (809350) | about 6 years ago | (#24531303)

Your girlfriend is skeptical you were ever wearing an "atom-thick condom" to begin with.

Wonderful... (-1, Redundant)

Vectronic (1221470) | about 6 years ago | (#24531309)

This is wonderful for the prophylactics industry...

Dora the explorer! (2, Funny)

bonkeydcow (1186443) | about 6 years ago | (#24531311)

From TFA:

using sticky tape to peel layers from a chunk of graphite.

The author must have small kids, or eclectic tastes in television shows.

Re:Dora the explorer! (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#24531369)

Meh, at least this is more believable then using sticky tape to repair the steering wheel on a pirate ship.

Re:Dora the explorer! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24531697)

Arrrrrgh! We be using duck tape f'er that!

Just wait until they fill them with helium. (1)

IllGetYouAToe (1303241) | about 6 years ago | (#24531325)

Terrifying, deadly amoebas floating around everywhere, waiting for you, hanging on tiny balloons.

Wait a minute (2, Insightful)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | about 6 years ago | (#24531337)

Gas did leak in or out over several days, but the researchers discovered that it was leaving through the glass, not the membranes.

Ok, the membrane is one atom thick. Now said membrane is holding in a gas of atoms. Since atoms are mostly empty space, why doesn't the gas atoms pass through the membrane?

Re:Wait a minute (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#24531527)

Well, a chunk of steel is made of atoms, and when you start looking at the atoms, even a chunk of steel is mostly empty space. There's probably something to do with the polarity (I made that up) that keeps the air molecules from leaking through the membrane, kind of like how water and oil repel eachother.

Re:Wait a minute (1)

corsec67 (627446) | about 6 years ago | (#24533557)

There's probably something to do with the polarity (I made that up)

And then bad things happen when the Polarity gets reversed.

At least according to any buzzword-compliant Sci-Fi show.

Re:Wait a minute (4, Informative)

jfengel (409917) | about 6 years ago | (#24531545)

Think of it this way: a lawnmower is mostly empty space. Care to stick your hand in one?

In the Bohr model you can think of it as the electrons zipping around and eventually coming within the zone populated by the electrons in membrane. Remember, the electron has an area of influence considerably bigger than the electron itself. And the entire outer surface of an atom/molecule is coated with electrons in a cloud much larger than the n, so the net effect is of a negative charge (unless some electrons are missing, in which case you get chemical reactions). Those negative charges repel.

What's actually going on is much weirder and more complex; the electron is kind of "smeared out" rather than zipping from place to place. But you get the gist.

Re:Wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24532227)

I do this every time I change the blade. What is so hard about that?

Wait... did you mean when it is on?

Re:Wait a minute (2, Funny)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | about 6 years ago | (#24532471)

I do this every time I change the blade. What is so hard about that?

Wait... did you mean when it is on?

Lefty, is that you?

Re:Wait a minute (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | about 6 years ago | (#24532599)

I will be leaving that as an exercise to the student, I want all of you to go home and try sticking your hand into the lawnmower both while the blade is spinning and when it is not. I then want you to compose a short essay on the relative differences and merits of both methods. Mor this assignment I will make an exception and allow a dictated or recorded response rather and a typed one.

Bubble Wrap (4, Funny)

wideBlueSkies (618979) | about 6 years ago | (#24531355)

This is great, we now have the capacity to create bubble wrap, suitable for packing/protecting nanobots.

Awesome stuff folks.

Impemeable to gases (4, Informative)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | about 6 years ago | (#24531419)

The linked article claims the graphene is impermeable to gases, but didn't say exactly which gases. This article says that even the smallest gases can't get through, not even helium: http://www.photonics.com/content/news/2008/August/8/92805.aspx [photonics.com]

The Hydrogen economy crowd will love this (1)

clonan (64380) | about 6 years ago | (#24531573)

So as I understand it, one of the big issues with hydrogen as a fuel is that it leaks really easily...

So we line the tank with this stuff and the H2 gas won't escape anywhere except the valve.

Re:The Hydrogen economy crowd will love this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24531925)

Unless we make the valve out of graphene!

Re:The Hydrogen economy crowd will love this (2, Informative)

Plazmid (1132467) | about 6 years ago | (#24531975)

Heck, you could make the tank out of graphene. Graphene can stand incredible pressures, as graphene has a Young's modulus of 0.5 TPa. That's 0.5 TERAPASCALS.

Re:The Hydrogen economy crowd will love this (1)

mdielmann (514750) | about 6 years ago | (#24532083)

I'm curious how hydrogen bonding would work with this. Graphene honeycomb materials may even be able to improve the density of compressed hydrogen, which would get us past one of the hurdles of using hydrogen gas. Of course, you also have to have a technique to release the gas, too.

Re:The Hydrogen economy crowd will love this (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 years ago | (#24533087)

If it doesn't leak at all, and weighs as little as it ought to, it's the ideal material for constructing dirigibles from. Not rigid enough for a vacuum dirigible, but a hydrogen dirigible would get a decent amount of lift and, if the hydrogen never needed replacing, be very cheap to operate (just compress and relax it like a fish's swim bladder to go up and down).

Re:Impemeable to gases (1)

Quantos (1327889) | about 6 years ago | (#24531583)

A quote from the article that you linked to states "They concluded that the graphene layer is essentially perfect and for all intents and purposes, impermeable to all standard gases." This should include any gasses that current processes can purify and isolate.

Re:Impemeable to gases (1)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | about 6 years ago | (#24534481)

Well, yes, but I chose to paraphrase a different part of the article, since it emphasized the surprising impermeability to helium. Either way the conclusion is the same, and that information was not mentioned in the link in the /. summary.

Perhaps "standard" was included to exclude gases that would react with graphene, as I suspect fluorine would.

Richard Branson (2, Funny)

thejameshimself (1341277) | about 6 years ago | (#24531431)

... just had a wet dream.

Atom-Thick Condom? (0, Redundant)

ConfrontationalGrayh (1199233) | about 6 years ago | (#24531441)

So when will they have these ready for production?

Re:Atom-Thick Condom? (1)

Stanistani (808333) | about 6 years ago | (#24531523)

As soon as they figure out how the consumer can put one on.

Re:Atom-Thick Condom? (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | about 6 years ago | (#24531897)

Just don't use a broken one, the atom thick edges could lead to a rather unfortunate trip to the emergency room and an emergency addadictomy procedure.

 

now- make me a balloon that is a single molecule.. (1)

way2trivial (601132) | about 6 years ago | (#24531699)

and suck out all the air (vaccuum) it should lift better than ANYTHING

  -- imagine not the lifting power of helium or hydrogen, but the lifting power of vaccuum...

Re:now- make me a balloon that is a single molecul (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 6 years ago | (#24531829)

...............

As it's quitting time, I really don't feel like explaining how very wrong that is. I'm sure someone else will.

Re:now- make me a balloon that is a single molecul (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about 6 years ago | (#24532251)

As it's quitting time, I really don't feel like explaining how very wrong that is. I'm sure someone else will.

Actually, he is completely right. Buoyancy comes from density differences, and nothing
is less dense than a vacuum - so if you manage to enclose a notable volume of vacuum,
this thing would be a great lifting body. Unfortunately, vacuum has a rather low intrinsic
pressure (yes, that's an understatement... ;-), so there is nothing in there able to counteract the
atmospheric pressure. And no material would be solid enough to be built around a vacuum. So such
a "balloon" would just be crushed and never lift a bit.

BTW, walls "filled" with vacuum would be great as housing insulation as well. Same problem: Huge
forces due to the atmospheric pressure. Instant crush.

Re:now- make me a balloon that is a single molecul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24532549)

Well, you did get around to what the GP wanted eventually . . .

Re:now- make me a balloon that is a single molecul (1)

way2trivial (601132) | about 6 years ago | (#24532647)

what is the strength of a covalent bond?

a single enclosed molecule might be strong enough...

Re:now- make me a balloon that is a single molecul (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 6 years ago | (#24532979)

So such
a "balloon" would just be crushed and never lift a bit.

Yeah... my point, kind of.

Re:now- make me a balloon that is a single molecul (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 6 years ago | (#24532627)

Well please explain how it is wrong. I have always heard that it is correct, if not nearly impossible to achieve.

As I understand it, the whole reason a helium filled balloon floats is that the weight of the helium and the balloon is less than the same volume of air it is displacing. Hence, it floats.

If you were to continue taking out helium atoms of the balloon the difference in the weight would be greater, and the balloon would float "better". That is not normally possible though, since the balloon deflates and takes up less volume.

A balloon made out of this material and reinforced in some way to maintain it's shape could theoretically prevent gas on the outside from entering and withstand the pressure that would normally cause it to collapse. You could still fill it with helium atoms and it would float. If you removed all gas from the inside, it should float as well.

So I really would like to hear your arguments as to how I am wrong here. Sincerely.

Re:now- make me a balloon that is a single molecul (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 6 years ago | (#24533039)

It isn't that a vacuum-filled wouldn't be buoyant, it's that it'd be instantly crushed. As it has no mass, it has no ability to withstand the crushing pressure of the atmosphere. As far as I know, there is no material strong enough to withstand that pressure without weighing enough to negate any buoyancy.

Re:now- make me a balloon that is a single molecul (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 6 years ago | (#24533053)

Misplaced "balloon". I'm getting sloppy...

Re:now- make me a balloon that is a single molecul (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 6 years ago | (#24533349)

Okay, so if the balloon was reinforced to the point it would not be crushed, it would work?

In that case a balloon is probably not a good name. More like a reinforced sphere or something similar. According to the article the material is strong enough though to withstand the pressures while being light enough to not negate any buoyancy. Now I don't know how easily you could reinforce it with the same material without adding to much weight.

It's interesting though. Thanks for the reply.

Re:now- make me a balloon that is a single molecul (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 6 years ago | (#24534205)

Okay, so if the balloon was reinforced to the point it would not be crushed, it would work?

No, because then it'd be heavier than air. Unless you found some new reinforcing material that doesn't presently exist, at least. This stuff isn't rigid, so it would just collapse.

Re:now- make me a balloon that is a single molecul (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 6 years ago | (#24534399)

No, because then it'd be heavier than air.

You really did not answer my question at all. I asked if it was reinforced in such a way as to not add too much weight would it float if it maintained a vacuum. The only thing you just said was that it could not be done with current materials. With respect, you cannot answer a hypothetical question by saying the situation could not exist in the first place. That is why it is hypothetical.

What I am really trying to get at it here, which is what the other poster was denying is possible, is that a container without any gas inside at all (a vacuum) that is also lighter than the same volume of air it is displacing, will float. So a lot of people are trying to shoot down whether or not the container can exist, while not giving any good scientific explanation as to why the hypothetical container would not float.

Re:now- make me a balloon that is a single molecul (1)

icegreentea (974342) | about 6 years ago | (#24533193)

Something along the lines of, when you make the balloon strong enough to contain vacuum without collapsing, you've made it too heavy. The average density of the entire balloon including the surface and whatever reinforcements you have is now greater than that of the atmosphere.

Such a balloon could work given a thin enough atmosphere though.

Re:now- make me a balloon that is a single molecul (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | about 6 years ago | (#24531927)

Regardless of whether you really could fill a balloon with vacuum, a balloon made of graphene would still have some pretty awesome lifting power, because graphene weighs a lot less. BTW, a balloon made of single graphene sheet might be considered a buckyball.

Re:now- make me a balloon that is a single molecul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24532685)

If the balloon's walls are rigid enough you could indeed create a vacuum in it, but surely it would be more efficient to just create a vacuum in a vessel than to fill the vessel with vacuum balloons.

What temperature did they do this at? (1)

ardle (523599) | about 6 years ago | (#24531755)

The article doesn't say. Did they control the pressure in those little pits with temperature, I wonder?

What would make these more useful would be ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 6 years ago | (#24531903)

... how much water [wikipedia.org] you can get into one of them.

I first thought the headline . . . (1)

chasd (1195929) | about 6 years ago | (#24532079)

was about Alan Thicke, not atom thick.

This being slashdot, i think we'll soon see an (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24532141)

This being slashdot, I think we'll soon see an article titled "Atom-Thick Balloon Deflated"

Deep sea flying inflatable animals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24532159)

Does this mean deep sea creatures could have the tensile strength to inflate and possibly breed in the air? (though many accounts exist, probably extinct (Charles Fort))

Yuo flail 1t (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24532311)

not anymore. It's a change to other members in These rules will the project to AASOCIATION OF say I'm packing BSD MACHINES, turd-suckingly = 1400 NetBSD

Game over man, game over! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24532329)

When the clowns find out, they will be able to coat us with balloon animals that we cannot even see.

Come on people, this is how they spread their disease!

Answer this (1)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | about 6 years ago | (#24532543)

All right, clever people of Slashdot, answer me this:

If instead of making a balloon out of this atom-thick material you simply made a large sheet (say, the size of a sheet of A4 paper) could a person fold this super-thin sheet in half more than twelve times? That's the current record [pomonahistorical.org] , shattering the previously accepted limit of eight folds [queensu.ca] .*

* Regarding the latter link: I know. (Ouch! My eyes!)

Is a vacuum ballon possible using this. (1)

johno.ie (102073) | about 6 years ago | (#24532609)

It's something I was thinking about a long time ago.

If you could make a spherical geodesic frame out of carbon fiber, or some other super strong and light composite. Then you stretch a lightweight gasproof skin over it and extract the air through a valve. If a vacuum ballon with a 2 meter diameter could be made that weighed less than 5kg, it would float on air. The materials to do this weren't available before, but graphene might change that.

I dunno exactly what use it would be, but I'm sure the Vatican could find applications for it.

johno

This thread is WORTHLESS without pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24532661)

This thread is WORTHLESS WITHOUT PICTURES.

The caps filter is stupid, because of it I have to insert this line.

End of a war (1)

DaveM753 (844913) | about 6 years ago | (#24533499)

Imagine a few thousand of these balloons being sucked into the engines of a microscopic space fleet. We win!

Continued Research (1)

PPH (736903) | about 6 years ago | (#24534105)

Researchers are moving into the next phase of their work with the aquisition of a tank of helium, a lawn chair and a pellet gun.
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