Scientists and researchers have now created a the very first diamond nanothread, these are very similar to the more known carbon nanotubes, but much stronger..much much stronger.
In the field of mathematics these diamond nanothreads are possibly the strongest and stiffest material mankind has ever made, and could possibly the strongest material in the universe that we currently know of. This new material will allow us to develop many new and interesting theories behind our universe and how mass and density work.
Currently diamonds are one of the hardest material known to man, but what is very unique about their structure is that they are very closely connected to the lattice structure of graphene and carbon nano-tubes. These materials have their own significant properties to them but it’s the arrangement of the carbon atoms to form the lattice structure deliverers their final properties, this type of material that shares the same properties but has a different atomic structure are called allotorpes.
An example of this is the form of diamonds at the atomic level, they are exceptional hard because of each of its atoms form a tetrahedral (pyramid) structure, which is known as sp3 hybridization. All allotropes of carbon are usually strong and exceptionally conductive to thermal and electrical energy.
In the case here however the Penn State University scientist and researchers have created threads of tetrahedral carbon atomic structures, arranging each individual molecule to fit the next.
““It is as if an incredible jeweler has strung together the smallest possible diamonds into a long miniature necklace,” says John Badding, who led the research
These diamond nanothreads should be even stronger and harder than their cousins carbon nanotubes and advanced polymers such as Vectran or Kevlar. Penn State University have yet to test their toughness but when it comes to the theoretical material science they believe that they won’t be proved wrong with their calculations.
Another astonishing thing about this research is that these diamond nanothreads where not that hard to create. They created them using the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to compress a sample of benzene as benzene is a liquid that consists of molecules of siz carbon atoms joined within a circle with one hydrogen atom linked to each carbon atom. A picture of this is below:
They slowly reduced the pressure that the benzene was placed into, this forced the atoms to create the shape of the tetrahedron which in this shape created the diamond nanothread. The scientists aren’t sure why the benzene has acted in this way when pressure was added and when it was removed it created polymerization as the pressure released, they are still investigating how the pressure effected the atoms in this way.
The diamond nanothread which were created where only two dimensional and only one molecule thick but infinitely long. To see the Penn State Universtity report upon this experiment please go to the link below to see the paper:
[Research paper: doi:10.1038/nmat4088 – “Benzene-derived carbon nanothreads”]
The two biggest reasons this new material is exciting is that the method in which to created can be emulated upon other material as the scientist are looking forward to seeing the reactions here when this is done on other liquids, hoping to create a whole new array of meta materials.
The second reason as stated before is that these diamond nanotubes are the strongest, hardest and stiffest materials ever created, and could very well be the strongest material in the universe to date.
So today we are only waiting and eagerly excited about the materials to come in the future and how they will affect our environment and civilization.