Step over graphene and diamond, there’s a new super-strong form of carbon in town! Named carbyne, this may very well be the world’s strongest material.
The substance is not entirely new but its properties have been described in detail by scientists for the first time. A paper published by Rice University researchers also lists the mathematical formula behind this special form of carbon.
This supermaterial is made of an indefinitely long chain of carbon atoms, linked together by sequential double bonds or by alternating triple and single bonds. The research has found that carbyne is incredibly strong and stiff, unlike any other material previously studied.
For instance, it takes a force of about 10 nanonewtons to break only one atomic chain in the molecular structure of carbyne. Similarly, this new form of carbon is so stiff it cannot be stretched, but it can be bent into a circle or an arc.
And just like graphene, is it only one atom thick, which means that it has a relatively massive surface area. With graphene, for example, one gram of the substance has the same surface area as five tennis courts.
Carbyne has been known to scientists for some time, as it has been detected either in interstellar dust or in meteorites. But since it is hard to replicate, little has been known about it until now. Recently, scientists succeeded in creating a carbyne chain of a little of 40 atoms and the research continues.
Due to its unique properties, carbyne can have an impressive range of applications if synthesized. It could be used for electromechanical and nanomechanical devices and systems, leading up to hydrogen storage and energy storage for high density batteries.
What do you think of this substance? What possible uses would you recommend for what is now dubbed the world’s strongest material? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
[Image via Azom]