Scientists seem to keep surprising the world. Chemists from the Rice University have released a description of a potentially firm substance. “Carbyne” might become the strongest ever material, if scientists may be able to produce it.
Presently, the most firm and expensive material ever produced on earth, is graphene, which is one-atom thick sheet of the mineral graphite. At first glance, it seems that graphite is a very fragile material. On the one hand it is true, as when a pencil is drawn on the paper, a thin layer will peel off. However this super-slim layer is very stiff. If carbine is produced, it may be even stiffer.
Unlike graphene, carbyne’s atoms, along with three non-bonded electrons, are connected to another atom by a single bond.
Scientists have been talking about carbyne since the 19th century. In 1962 Soviet chemist Alexey Sladkov claimed that he produced a material, which he called carbyne. However, Boris Yakobson, who leads the research group at Rice University, says it was just an imitation of the real substance. It was a black powder, a linear polymer of carbon.
Yakobson and his group collected all existing data and created a virtual model of carbyne. The scientists claim that this material is twice as firm as graphene. The report by ACS Nano says: “Under intense traction, carbyne is about twice as stiff as the stiffest known materials and has an unrivaled specific strength of up to 7.5 × 107 N·m/kg, requiring a [strength] of 10 nN to [sever] a single atomic chain. Carbyne has a fairly large room temperature persistence length of about 14 nm.”
Imagine that to pierce graphene with a pencil, the latter must be as heavy as an elephant. Therefore, snapping carbyne may require two elephants or even more. Also, carbyne is three times as stiff as diamond. Moreover, carbyne is very flexible. Scientist say: “We reconstruct the equivalent continuum elasticity representation, providing the full set of elastic moduli for carbyne, showing its extreme mechanical performance.”
One more feature of the new material is that it is very stable at room temperature. All these characteristics make the unique material attractive to specialists from different fields. Carbyne, like graphene, may be a material of the future. Scientists are encountering this material. It may take years of research before they may be able to produce it in a bulk. If they do, the material may open the whole new perspective for futuristic devices. It may be widely used in the production of nano mechanic devices and various nano censors. With the help of the magical material new extra-thin smartphones, transparent computers and much more may be created.
Things that may only be seen in movies now about the future may be possible to produce. Moreover, the ideas of the past, which previously were thought challenging to achieve, may now be accomplished. For instance, a space elevator, also known as a lift to the Moon, might become possible to create. First conceived in the 19th century, it is a ribbon-like cable attached to the Earth. This invention may make it affordable to deliver goods to space stations.
In order to build it technicians may need a super stiff substance, just like carbyne. Might this innovative new material open the doors to a wealth of new inventions and possibilities in the near future?