Carbon  - Carbyne - Strongest Material of All?

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renewable energy carbyne molecule

Super Metal with "Strong" Possibilities :

.Carbyne may be the strongest of a new class of microscopic materials if and when anyone can make it in bulk.  If they do, they'll find carbyne nanorods or nanoropes have a host of remarkable and useful properties,.

Carbyne might in fact be the strong, cheap new space age material required for all sorts of building and transportation activities in the future, once the scientists figure out how to make it cheaply.

This could have enormous implications for renewable energy and alternative energy production and development, allowing for lighter, stronger, cheaper mechanisms to produce alternative sources of power.

Carbyne is a chain of carbon atoms held together by either double or alternating single and triple atomic bonds. That makes it a true one-dimensional material, unlike atom-thin sheets of graphene that have a top and a bottom or hollow nanotubes that have an inside and outside.

According to the portrait drawn from calculations by theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson at Rice University and his group:

* Carbyne's tensile strength -- the ability to withstand stretching -- surpasses "that of any other known material" and is double that of graphene. (Scientists had already calculated it would take an elephant on a pencil to break through a sheet of graphene.)

* It has twice the tensile stiffness of graphene and carbon nanotubes and nearly three times that of diamond.

* Stretching carbyne as little as 10 percent alters its electronic band gap significantly.

* If outfitted with molecular handles at the ends, it can also be twisted to alter its band gap. With a 90-degree end-to-end rotation, it becomes a magnetic semiconductor.

* Carbyne chains can take on side molecules that may make the chains suitable for energy storage.

* The material is stable at room temperature, largely resisting crosslinks with nearby chains.

Theories about carbyne first appeared in the 19th century, and an approximation of the material was first synthesized in the USSR in 1960. Carbyne has since been seen in compressed graphite, has been detected in interstellar dust and has been created in small quantities by experimentalists.

The Rice researchers, led by Rice graduate student Mingjie Liu and postdoctoral researcher Vasilii Artyukhov, were aware of a number of papers that described one property or another of carbyne. They set out to detail carbyne with computer models using first-principle rules to determine the energetic interactions of atoms, Artyukhov said.

Researchers are now taking a more rigorous look at the conductivity of carbyne and are thinking about other elements as well. "We've talked about going through different elements in the periodic table to see if some of them can form one-dimensional chains," Yakobson said.

If carbyne can be commercially and cheaply produced in the future, then graphene will lose its current spot as the strongest material.






Allan Barker

October 10th 2013



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