Robert Murray-Smith. 2020. Step By Step: Hemp–Casein Bioplastic. Video. Retrieved from (Members only).

From the video's description, “This should give all the instructions needed as well as an indication of what you can do to make it all your own - best of luck and I hope it helps.”

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'Starlite'-like Intumescent Material

NightHawkInLight. 2018. A Super-Material That Can Be Made In The Kitchen (Starlite Part 1). Video. Retrieved from

NightHawkInLight. 2020. History of a Lost Supermaterial & How To Make It (Starlite Part 2). Video. Retrieved from

NightHawkInLight. 2020. How to Make a "Cookie Dough" Forge (Starlite Part 3). Video. Retrieved from

From the videos' descriptions, “In this video I attempt to recreate a lost supermaterial called Starlite. This material could supposedly resist temperatures up to 10,000 degrees Celsius, having undergone testing by NASA and the Atomic Weapons Establishment in the UK. I believe in this video I have come close in function to the original formula for Starlite, but there is still some work to be done. My result works very well, but for a few reasons I may talk about in a future video I do not believe Starlite used PVA glue as it's binder, and I also suspect a different CO2 producer was used instead of baking soda. More experiments are required.”

From Part 2, the recipe is:

  • 40g flour (the binder)
  • 20g corn starch (reduce stickiness)
  • 20g powdered white sugar (when heated, it melts and provides the elasticity and lubrication needed for the carbon foam to form, even when the material is dry)
  • 20g baking soda or Borax (reacts to form CO2 and H2O when heated, forming the carbon 'bubbles')
  • approx. 25mL water

The flour and water serve as the binder; the corn start reduces the mix's stickiness; the sugar, when heated, melts and provides the elasticity and lubrication needed for the carbon foam to form (even when the material is dry); and the baking soda / Borax reacts, when heated, to form CO2 and H2O and, thus, the carbon 'bubbles'.

The Borax (whether added to the above, or in place of the baking soda) provides resistance against mould and insects, and significantly increases the material's strength, making it comparable to refractory alumina bricks, and possible to form into stronger 'tiles'.

To insulate against heat before the intumescent material begins to (or can) carbonise, one would need to add something with an inherent insulative quality — e.g., diatomaceous earth, fumed silica, glass micro-balloons.

Robert Murray-Smith. 2013. Graphene 101. Video. Retrieved from

Robert Murray-Smith. 2014. Graphene: An Introductory Course . Video. Retrieved from

Exfoliation-based Techniques

Robert Murray-Smith. 2019. Graphene by the Ton. Video. Retrieved from (Member-only video)

In this video, a technique for the large-scale (for a private lab) production of graphene is presented. A vertical ball mill, made from the motor and gear assembly of a cordless drill, a plastic (food) beater / whisk head, and a beaker is filled with 1cm diameter glass marbles, to which vegetable glycerine (aka glycerol) and graphite are added. (To allow this apparatus to run unsupervised for a longer period of time, a thermal cut-out switch is mounted to the motor's body.)

In contrast to your typical horizontal ball mill (which is a high-impact, low-shear machine), the vertical arrangement of this mill gives us a no-impact, low-shear machine which, when combined with a sticky substance such as glycerine, approximates the 'adhesive tape-on-graphite' method of exfoliation first developed in the mid 2000s.

The actual mix used is a 1:2 molar mix of glycerine to urea (the latter dissolved into the former at approx. 60°C); the urea is added to prevent the resulting graphene from agglomerating, plus it increases the viscosity of the liquid. For every 250mL of (pure) glycerine, add a few grams of graphite, and let the mill run for approx. 24 hours. The resulting mixture remains 'stable' for many months (i.e. the graphene doesn't settle or drop out of suspension).

Since both are water-soluble, the mixture can be washed, as and when needed, to leave just the graphene, or the resulting glycerine–graphene mix can be used as a plasticiser, e.g., as per Murray-Smith (2020).

From 6:46–7:30, “there is no real restriction on the size — it works very well at 45–150um graphite, but you can go up to 1 or 2mm if you want; I have done 1mm graphite in there so you get very large flakes. Because it's no impact — it's just shear — that flake size is maintained. If you put it in a ball mill, what will happen is it will smash and break the flakes up, as happens on occasion. With this one, because it's just low shear continually, it just peels it off, peels it off, peels it off, and you end up with large flakes in high concentration, in a harmless liquid that you can wash off easily. And really, I don't know what else anybody would want from a graphene-production method.”

Solvent–Shearing-based Techniques

Robert Murray-Smith. 2014. Step by Step Method for Making Graphene. Video. Retrieved from

In this older video, a step-by-step guide to the production of graphene using a water–acetone solvent is presented.

From Blown Sugar

Robert Murray-Smith. 2020. Making Graphene Foam from Table Sugar. Video. Retrieved from

See also 'blown sugar graphene' on Google Scholar.

  • Last modified: 2022-03-19 16:43
  • by Peter