Nuclear Pasta May Be The Strongest Material In The Entire Universe

Posted: Sep 19 2018, 7:22am CDT | by , Updated: Sep 19 2018, 11:39pm CDT, in Latest Science News


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Nuclear Pasta may be the Strongest Material in the Entire Universe
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Researchers have found evidence that suggests nuclear material beneath the surface of neutron stars is 10 billion times stronger than steel.

Neutron stars consist of very dense matter. The matter is believed to be made up of neutrons and protons and can arrange itself into complex shapes known as nuclear pasta. Prior studies have found evidence that the nuclear material deep inside the crust of neutron stars is incredibly strong. In the latest effort, a team of researchers from multiple institutes in US and Canada has calculated the strength of this material and showed that it is actually 10 billion times stronger than steel or any other strongest metal on Earth. This means that matter in neutron stars could be the strongest material in the universe.

“The strength of the neutron star crust, especially the bottom of the crust, is relevant to a large number of astrophysics problems, but isn't well understood,” said Matthew Caplan from McGill University.

“Our results are valuable for astronomers who study neutron stars. Their outer layer is the part we actually observe, so we need to understand that in order to interpret astronomical observations of these stars.”

Neutron stars are remnants of massive stars that collapse under their own gravity. They are typically about 20 kilometers in diameter and have incredibly high temperatures. The presence of an intense magnetic field around them makes them the most hostile known environments in the universe.

Neutron stars have attracted attention from astronomers and their exotic crusts have been intensively studied for many years. We have a somewhat better understanding of what goes on inside neutron stars due to the fact that these stars emit radiation. These radiations can be detected using telescopes and indicate that the nature of neutron stars is unlike anything observed on Earth.

For the new study, researchers ran the largest computer simulations ever conducted of neutron star crusts. They believe that neutron stars' crust could provide most detailed information astronomers may ever know about these strange stars. The simulations showed that the enormous densities and strange shapes have made nuclear material inside neutron stars so dense that it is likely the strongest material in the entire universe.

“We simulate idealized samples of nuclear pasta and describe their breaking mechanism. We also deform nuclear pasta that is arranged into many domains, similar to what is known for the ions in neutron star crusts.” Authors wrote in the study. “Our results show that nuclear pasta may be the strongest known material, perhaps with a shear modulus of 1030ergs/cm3 and breaking strain greater than 0.1.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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