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The future of electrostatic speakers - Graphene

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Graphene
Graphene - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A ridiculously strong, conductive and apparently stable material produced in labs, is stronger than titanium, more flexible than steel, and is conductive enough to be touted as the future replacement for the modern microchip.

The first two things my mind jumped to were:
1) Incredibly light vehicles (planes, sports/race cars, bikes, etc)
2) Incredibly light membranes inside of electrostatic speakers.

I have no experience with ribbon tweeters (or stats for that matter), but the general buzz on the net seems to be "Wow these sound incredible, but they blow SO EASILY!!!". I can only imagine the power handling, quickness and durability of a speaker made from graphene.

It's a long shot in the dark, but who knows. 20 years ago computers could hardly put out 256 colors, and now we are struggling to write programs parallelized/optomized enough to utilize all the cores on modern supercomputer.
post #2 of 13
Graphene headphones. Light, robust and resonance free. Give me!
post #3 of 13
Is it similar to carbon fiber?

ES speakers have a long way to go, especially in soundstage, lower-frequency, and placement. But you can't argue with clarity and sonics...
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeusEx View Post
Is it similar to carbon fiber?

ES speakers have a long way to go, especially in soundstage, lower-frequency, and placement. But you can't argue with clarity and sonics...
It's a 2-D sheet of carbon atoms.

Honestly, I don't think that it has applications on a macro-scale. It may be a very strong substance, but keep in mind, what is strong on a scale of atom is not as effective on a larger scale (see spider silk).
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by logwed View Post
, what is strong on a scale of atom is not as effective on a larger scale (see spider silk).
Very good way to put things into perspective.

NK
post #6 of 13
If Graphene is conductive, shouldn't it be better suited to a ribbon/planar speaker? Electrostats use a layer of Mylar (or similar) with a resistant, yet conductive coating on each side. An electrostat behaves like a big capacitor - the diaphragm cannot be entirely conductive.

Graphene could do well in a ribbon or planar, though. You'd have to see about its resonant properties and if it generates its own noise when stretched.

Still, a very, very interesting material!
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
If Graphene is conductive, shouldn't it be better suited to a ribbon/planar speaker? Electrostats use a layer of Mylar (or similar) with a resistant, yet conductive coating on each side. An electrostat behaves like a big capacitor - the diaphragm cannot be entirely conductive.

Graphene could do well in a ribbon or planar, though. You'd have to see about its resonant properties and if it generates its own noise when stretched.

Still, a very, very interesting material!
Maybe coating the mylar with graphene
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
My audio vocabulary must be a bit weak then. As I understood, planar/ribbon/electrostatic were all the same things. That is, a thin conductive membrane stretched between two opposing magnetic fields such that the magnetic field induced from running current thru said membrane cause it to move, thus creating sound. Feel free to school me on this one, if you please...

edit:
Carbon fiber is charred (hence the "carbon" fiber) fibers, typically covered in resin for stiffness. I believe if similar to anything, it would be graphite given the name graphene.

And I agree, given the fact that it appears to only be one atom thick as presented on the wiki page, it might not be viable for speaker applications. But as a brand new material, I would not discount the likelihood of it being manufactured in much thicker sheets, whether it be layered thicker or actually chemically bonded as such.
post #9 of 13
Well, the major hurdle at this point is probably making really big pieces of it.

Wikipedia doesn't say, but i imagine at this point that the largest contiguous free-standing planes of graphene are microscopic.

I used to have a research physicist uncle. For real. He worked at Fermilab for some years and then at Argonne National Lab for many years. If you don't believe me I'll PM you his name - he was a well known name in the field of neutron diffraction.

Anyway, back in the early nineties, when buckminsterfullerine was the hot new polycarbon on the block, I asked him if he'd had time to play with any buckyballs in the lab.

He said he had, so i asked him what it's physical properties are like.

He told me that if you could get enough buckyballs to rub them between your thumb and forefinger, it would be very slippery - but that at the time there wasn't that much pure buckminsterfullerine in the world - that researchers were using very tiny samples.

Another thought - a large one-ply sheet of graphene would be impossibly fragile. True, stronger than any other one-ply sheet of atoms, but still far more fragile than 1um of mylar.

Also, the text on wikipedia strongly implies that 'stats built with a graphite coating on the diaphragm are already smeared with some portion of graphene.
post #10 of 13
Gimme, gimme, gimme.... a graphene headphone.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by chobint View Post
My audio vocabulary must be a bit weak then. As I understood, planar/ribbon/electrostatic were all the same things. That is, a thin conductive membrane stretched between two opposing magnetic fields such that the magnetic field induced from running current thru said membrane cause it to move, thus creating sound. Feel free to school me on this one, if you please...
No, they're all a bit different.

Electrostats have a Mylar sheet stretched between two stator panels. The stators are charged up quite a bit (I think they're at 5kV on my Quads) and the diaphragm is pulled back and forth by electrostatic charge.

A planar is similar, but it uses magnets instead of an electrostatic charge. The diaphragm has conductive patterns covering it, you pass the signal through the pattern, and magnets in front of and behind the diaphragm pull it back and forth.

A ribbon is a ribbon typically made of aluminum that hangs between magnets to its left and right. You pass the signal through the ribbon itself.

An AMT is sort of like a ribbon, except that the ribbon is folded up like an accordion that expands and contracts with the signal.

So there are similarities, but there are real differences in how they work. Personally, ribbons are probably my favorite. Nothing else gives you quite the same ease and naturalness in the mids and highs.
post #12 of 13
post #13 of 13

10 years? maybe beerchug.gif

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