The strongest and stiffest material, carbyne, has now been synthesized by scientists. Moreover, they have found a way to mass produce the stable carbyne which opens to many possibilities for its application.
Carbyne is a carbon allotrope that, as what scientists found, is two times stronger than graphene and three times stronger than diamond. But because it is highly reactive, carbyne is immediately destroyed. However, scientists from the University of Vienna in Austria have discovered a way to stabilize it sans destruction.
Stabilizing An Elusive Carbon
Since carbyne is a monodimensional chain of carbon atoms that is linked to one another, its structure makes it highly reactive. This results for carbyne to destruct as immediately as it was manufactured.
The properties of carbyne are too significant not to notice, though, especially when it is found to be stiffer than the stiffest materials we have to date, like graphene and diamond. And with further research, Austrian researchers finally found a way to mass produce the stable carbyne while dodging its destruction.
They were able to synthesize the reactive carbyne by pressing two layers together, laid on top of each other, which was then rolled into a double-walled tube. This makes the synthesized carbyne inside the tube intact with its protective casing.
The researchers also broke records by stringing together 6,400 carbon atoms where they stay fixed in the chain for as long as they want. Previously, the record was only 100 carbon atoms in one continuous chain.
What sets apart carbyne from graphene is how it is a single atom-thick chain unlike graphene’s sheet, or even carbon nanotubes’ hollow tubes. And with its single dimension, scientists have long wondered about its unparalleled electrical and mechanical properties.
With the recent discovery of the promising stable carbyne, researchers can now delve further into its applications. Experimentations into what ultra-strong devices it can give birth to will also be a thing to keep our eyes peeled for.