Graphene is almost a million times thinner than a human hair and harder than diamond and the super material will be used to create the next generation of ultra-thin, stronger, and more elastic condoms.
Russian scientists Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov first isolated the material in 2004 at the University of Manchester, which earned the duo the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010. Since then, more than 7,500 graphene-based patents have been filed worldwide.
Funding for the new type of condom will come from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the tune of US$100,000 each for the Indian and British scientists who will head the project.
Aravind Vijayaraghavan and his team from the University of Manchester will create condoms out of nano materials, including graphene. This composite material will be especially made to enhance the natural sensation during sex, which is expected to encourage people to cap it before they tap it.
Graphene is a single-layer, crystalline form of carbon that is highly elastic and very strong. It also conducts heat. The plan is to add graphene to the blend of materials currently used to produce condoms.
The scientists will also incorporate drugs and compounds designed to kill off sperm, which would greatly improve safety.
Male condoms are cheap and easy to manufacture, easy to distribute, and available globally. Global production is currently at 15 billion units per year with an estimated 750 million regular users, and the market is showing steady growth.
Properly used they can prevent pregnancies and protect the parties involved from transmitting infections, including the dreaded HIV virus. Remember the advice you should give a person on fire – stop, drop, and roll – and you should be fine.
There are two major obstacles in the condom’s way: the perceived trade-off of diminished sensation, and religious fanatics. The former of the two is something the industry has been battling for years. We now have the dotted, the ribbed, the flavored, and the ultra-thin condoms, just to mention a few.
A study showed that out of five varieties of rubbers, 40 percent picked the dotted, followed by flavored (30 percent).
Religion remains the greatest nemesis of the penile raincoat, with priests actively crusading against them in AIDS-ridden countries in Africa. They preach that condoms promote sex outside of marriage and in some extreme cases that condoms also encourage gay sodomites to go about their sinful ways.