Soles with Graphene-Based Drying Agent to Soak Up Footwear Moisture

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New high-performing drying agent based on graphene has applications in shoes with advanced inner soles 

Scientists from the Australia’s University of New South Wales (UNSW) developed new material, which has ability to absorb twice than normal amount of moisture keeping footwear fresh for longer period of time. The study used a form of graphene called graphene-oxide, which consists of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms. It is made by treating graphite, the three dimensional form of graphene, with strong oxidizing agents. The UNSW team carried out experiments to examine the material’s adsorption and desorption capabilities.

After successful experiments, it was found that material was able to soak up 0.58 g of water per gram of graphene oxide, owing to the high capillary pressure within the laminates and wrinkles that resemble tunnels on the material’s surface. Furthermore, altering the space between each layer of graphene oxide was found to fine-tune the rate of moisture absorption. The material was not only found to soak up moisture much more effectively than what is currently available, but also fine-tuned during production to suit different applications. Owing to various properties, the material has found to have applications in electronics, packaging, air conditioners and footwear.

“One novel application we are investigating is the integration of the desiccant into inner soles of shoes to control odour and moisture,” said Dr Rakesh Joshi of the UNSW School of Materials Science and Engineering. “As the moisture could be released back into the atmosphere using an ordinary household device like a warm oven, shoes could be recharged regularly to keep them constantly fresh.” Also, it can be dried out and reused at relatively low cost, as it discharges moisture at low temperatures as compared to conventional drying agents. The research was published in the journal Chemical Science in May 2018.

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