This New Material Is Harder Than Diamond

Posted: Mar 22 2017, 1:50pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
This New Material is Harder Than Diamond
Model of fullerite inside diamond. Credit: A. Kvashnin
  • A Material called Fullerite is Tougher than Diamond

A material that is called fullerite is apparently tougher than diamond. This may be hard to believe but it is true.

Physicists have made a novel material based upon fullerite and single crystal diamond that has a hardness greater than diamond. This methodology can be very useful in the making of very hard materials.

The gamut runs from talc which is very soft to diamond which is very hard. On the Moh’s scale of hardness, now there is finally an artificial material that is harder than diamond though.

The study regarding this was published in the journal Carbon. Fullerite contains fullerene molecules at the lattice nodes. It consists of carbon atoms. The material was actually made three decades ago.

The material’s making won its founder the Nobel Prize. It all lies in the hardness of the molecules. Ultrahard fullerite or “tisnumit” was obtained by scientists after various physicochemical acrobatics in the lab.

The novel material could induce scratches on the surface of diamond. The material contained amorphous carbon and 3D polymerized molecules of C60. However, not all that occurs at the molecular and atomic levels has been understood by the scientists.

It is the mechanical stability and density of this material that has the scientists in a tizzy. As for its crystal, it is soft to begin with but becomes hard with time and under pressure.

This is due to 3D polymerization. Although two decades of research lies behind the making of fullerite, its exact makeup and structural-functional setup remains pretty much a conundrum even today.

How fullerenes become fullerite is an enigma. All we know is that a 10 GP pressure is applied to fullerene powder. It is heated to above 1800 KP. Under these circumstances, the fullerene converts to fullerite and there you have it. Something even harder than diamond.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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