Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New material breakthrough: Super-hard graphite cracks diamond

17.10.2003


It is hard to imagine that graphite, the soft "lead" of pencils, can be transformed into a form that competes in strength with its molecular cousin diamond. Using a diamond anvil to produce extreme pressures and the ultra-brilliant X-ray beams at the Advanced Photon Source in Illinois, scientists with the High-Pressure Collaborative Access Team (HPCAT)* have surmounted experimental obstacles to probe the changes that graphite undergoes to produce this unique, super-hard substance. The study is reported in the October 17, issue of Science.



"Researchers have speculated for years on the extreme conditions that might change the molecular structure of graphite into a super-hard form that rivals diamond," said Wendy Mao, the study’s lead author from the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory in Washington, D.C., and the University of Chicago. "This experiment is the first to determine quantitatively how the bonding in graphite changes under high-pressure conditions. Conventional methods limited our observations to surface studies of the material," she stated. "Now, with the super high-intensity X-rays of the Argonne facility and with our team’s technology to focus the entire beam to a small spot, we’ve been able to look at the material in the diamond-anvil cell while under high pressure. We’ve overcome the obstacles of the past," she concluded.

Graphite and diamond are both made of carbon. The geometric arrangement and spacing of the carbon atoms is what makes the materials differ in appearance and strength. The atoms in graphite are arranged in layers that are widely spaced. The atoms in diamond, on the other hand, are tightly linked producing a strongly bonded structure. The HPCAT scientists subjected graphite to pressures that are equivalent to 170,000 times the pressure at sea level ( 17 gigapascals). "We were able to see how the structure changed at the atomic level when the graphite was squeezed into the super-hard form," remarked co-author Dave Mao of Carnegie’s Geophysical Laboratory. "The graphite that resulted from our experiment was so hard that when we released the pressure we saw that it had actually cracked the diamond anvil."


The super-hard from of graphite opens the door to a myriad of applications in industry particularly as a structural component.



* HPCAT is made up of researchers from the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory, the High-Pressure Physics Group of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the High Pressure Science and Engineering Center of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the University of Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. Use of the HPCAT facility at Argonne National Laboratory for this work was funded by the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the W.M. Keck Foundation, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

The Carnegie Institution of Washington (www.CarnegieInstitution.org) has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research since 1902. It is a private, nonprofit organization with six research departments in the U.S.: Plant Biology, Global Ecology, The Observatories, Embryology, the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, and the Geophysical Laboratory.

Wendy Mao | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.CarnegieInstitution.org

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen
22.05.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Photocatalyst makes hydrogen production 10 times more efficient
19.05.2017 | Kobe University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

Im Focus: Hydrogen Bonds Directly Detected for the First Time

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

Media accreditation opens for historic year at European Health Forum Gastein

16.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences

Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus

22.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan

22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>