Abstract: The remarkable mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes arise from the exceptional strength and stiffness of the atomically thin carbon sheets (graphene) from which they are formed. In contrast, bulk graphite, a polycrystalline material, has low fracture strength and tends to suffer failure either by delamination of graphene sheets or at grain boundaries between the crystals. Now Stankovich et al. have produced an inexpensive polymer-matrix composite by separating graphene sheets from graphite and chemically tuning them. The material contains dispersed graphene sheets and offers access to a broad range of useful thermal, electrical and mechanical properties. Individual sheets of graphene can be readily incorporated into a polymer matrix, giving rise to composite materials having potentially useful electronic properties. Graphene sheets—one-atom-thick two-dimensional layers of sp2-bonded carbon—are predicted to have a range of unusual properties. Their thermal conductivity and mechanical stiffness may rival the remarkable in-plane values for graphite (∼3,000 W m-1 K-1 and 1,060 GPa, respectively); their fracture strength should be comparable to that of carbon nanotubes for similar types of defects1,2,3; and recent studies have shown that individual graphene sheets have extraordinary electronic transport properties4,5,6,7,8. One possible route to harnessing these properties for applications would be to incorporate graphene sheets in a composite material. The manufacturing of such composites requires not only that graphene sheets be produced on a sufficient scale but that they also be incorporated, and homogeneously distributed, into various matrices. Graphite, inexpensive and available in large quantity, unfortunately does not readily exfoliate to yield individual graphene sheets. Here we present a general approach for the preparation of graphene-polymer composites via complete exfoliation of graphite9 and molecular-level dispersion of individual, chemically modified graphene sheets within polymer hosts. A polystyrene–graphene composite formed by this route exhibits a percolation threshold10 of ∼0.1 volume per cent for room-temperature electrical conductivity, the lowest reported value for any carbon-based composite except for those involving carbon nanotubes11; at only 1 volume per cent, this composite has a conductivity of ∼0.1 S m-1, sufficient for many electrical applications12. Our bottom-up chemical approach of tuning the graphene sheet properties provides a path to a broad new class of graphene-based materials and their use in a variety of applications.