Rohit Karnik, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Engineering, said the discovery could open graphene to a number of new applications, including desalination, where filtration membranes that can withstand high-pressure flows  can more efficiently remove salt from seawater.

“This is a fundamental study at this point, and what it shows is the possibility that one can design graphene membranes that can withstand high pressures,” Karnik said during an exclusive interview with R&D Magazine. . “This in itself doesn’t immediately lead to any application but it is basically a demonstration that you can design graphene membranes to withstand high pressures.”

According to Karnik, the research indicates which substrate designs are better to support graphene under higher pressures and that when graphene was placed over substrates with larger pores it failed to withstand even low pressure.