Graphene and fullerenes


  • Graphene is a single layer of graphite and has properties that make it useful in electronics and composites.

Students should be able to explain the properties of graphene in terms of its structure and bonding.

Fullerenes are molecules of carbon atoms with hollow shapes. The structure of fullerenes is based on hexagonal rings of carbon atoms but they may also contain rings with five or seven carbon atoms. The first fullerene to be discovered was Buckminsterfullerene (C60) which has a spherical shape.

Carbon nanotubes are cylindrical fullerenes with very high length to diameter ratios. Their properties make them useful for nanotechnology, electronics and materials.

Students should be able to:

  • recognise graphene and fullerenes from diagrams and descriptions of their bonding and structure
  • give examples of the uses of fullerenes, including carbon nanotubes.

WS 1.2 Use a variety of models such as representational, spatial, descriptive, computational and mathematical to solve problems, make predictions and to develop scientific explanations and understanding of familiar and unfamiliar facts.,

WS 1.4Explain everyday and technological applications of science; evaluate associated personal, social, economic and environmental implications; and make decisions based on the evaluation of evidence and arguments.

MS 5b - Visualise and represent 2D and 3D forms including two dimensional representations of 3D objects