A CHEMICAL challenge put students to the test at Cronton Sixth Form College.

The Science and Medical Club invited them to use cocktail sticks to create the longest chain of graphene atoms, in the shape of a hexagons, in an hour.

Each team was sponsored and they raised more than £200 for North West Ambulance NHS Trust.

Biology tutor Jill Greenhalgh said: “We agreed to award a prize for the longest chain that could be made within one hour.

“The students really got stuck into the task and each group managed a chain of at least 14 metres.

“Graphene consists of hexagonal rings of carbon atoms, but it is only one layer thick. In this sense it is the first two-dimensional material in existence.

“It is virtually transparent and conducts electricity. In fact adding just 1% of graphene to a plastic will enable it to conduct electricity. It was discovered by Andre Geim and Konstantin Noveslov at Manchester University using scotch tape to pull a layer of carbon atoms off a pencil! It is expected to be used in touch screens, solar cells, and many other modern devices.”

Student Jack Austin suggested the graphene challenge and Amy Wain chose the charity.

Phil Taylor, head of centre, said “This was a brilliant idea which raised money for a very deserving charity and also raised awareness about new discoveries in science and the impact they can have. It was a great afternoon for all involved. “

The money raised will be presented on March 12.