Graphene: Seeing God’s Handiwork and Care in Chemistry

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God’s creation is filled with amazing design. Often when we think of design, we immediately picture hummingbirds, butterflies, or the human body. But God’s design can be seen in the obvious and the not so obvious. Have you ever stopped to consider how even chemistry showcases God’s handiwork, creativity, and care for his creation?

Graphene, the “Wonder Material”

Carbon, the sixth element on the periodic table, is considered “King of the Elements.” It appears in three major forms in nature. One of these forms, diamond, is transparent and the hardest known material while another form, graphite, is black and very soft. Carbon is essential to life.

In 2002 researchers at the University of Manchester isolated graphene, an ultra-thin sheet of carbon atoms, by peeling off layers of graphite with tape until they had a layer just one atom thick. Now the strongest material known to man, this “wonder material” is pliable, strong, and conductive.

Professor Stuart Burgess, a professor and gifted design engineer at the University of Bristol in the UK (and a biblical creationist), says this of carbon and graphene,

Carbon is very special. It can form diamond and graphite—even though the former is super hard and the latter is quite soft.

Graphene is another form of carbon material—this time a single layer of graphite. It has very useful electrical, thermal, and physical properties. Its applications include replacing silicon in areas like electronic devices.

It is truly remarkable how God can design carbon to do such diverse things by simply changing the type of bond connections in the structure!

Some of the things we see as simple in creation—like water (H2O) and carbon (C)—are actually profound Designer materials [materials that bear hallmarks of having been formed for a purpose by a Designer] that have remarkable properties that are useful to man.

Graphene and Seawater

Providing clean water to those around the world is a challenge many engineers are seeking to solve. Theoretically the oceans are an endless source of water—except, of course, for the problem that it’s not drinkable. But researchers in the UK recently announced that they’ve developed a sieve using a compound called graphene oxide to filter seawater.

Previous attempts have been unsuccessful because the graphene oxide swelled in the water, allowing particles to go through. But researchers now say they can control the size and expansion of the pores by using an epoxy resin coat over the graphene oxide membrane. This allows salt, and other impurities, to be filtered out, leaving fresh drinking water.

While this energy-efficient method still needs further research and development before it can be used, it’s an exciting prospect that will perhaps allow millions to access fresh water.

God’s Care for Creation

God’s design and care for his creation can be seen everywhere we look. The more we study what he has made, the more we realize that he has put his fingerprints on everything from small molecules to blue whales. Our world truly is a designer world. It should cause us to say, along with the psalmist,

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3–4)

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