Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists come closer to the industrial synthesis of a material harder than diamond

15.09.2014

Researchers from the Technological Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials in Troitsk, MIPT, MISiS, and MSU have developed anew method for the synthesis of an ultrahard material that exceeds diamond in hardness. An article recently published in the journal Carbon describes in detail a method that allows for the synthesis of ultrahard fullerite, a polymer composed of fullerenes, or spherical molecules made of carbon atoms.

In their work, the scientists note that diamond hasn’t been the hardest material for some time now. Natural diamonds have a hardness of nearly 150 GPa, but ultrahard fullerite has surpassed diamond to become first on the list of hardest materials with values that range from 150 to 300 GPa. 


Photo of a Vickers indenter made of ultrahard fullerite. Courtesy of MikhailPopov

All materials that are harder than diamond are called ultra hard materials. Materials softer than diamond but harder than boron nitride are termedsuperhard. Boron nitride, with its cubic lattice, is almost three times harder than the well-known corundum.  

Fullerites are materials that consist of fullerenes. In their turn, fullerenes are carbon molecules in the form of spheres consisting of 60 atoms. Fullerene was first synthesized more than 20 years ago, and a Nobel Prize was awarded for that work.

... more about:
»Carbon »Diamond »FSBI »Fullerene »MSU »pressure »synthesis »temperature

The carbon spheres within fullerite can be arranged in different ways, and the material’s hardness largely depends on just how interconnected they are. In the ultrahard fullerite discovered by the workers at the Technological Institutefor Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials (FSBITISNCM), C 60 molecules are interconnected by covalent bonds in all directions, a material scientists call a three-dimensional polymer. 

However, the methods providing production of this promising material on an industrial scale are not available yet. Practically, the superhard carbon form is of primary interest for specialists in the field of metals and other materials processing: the harder a tool is, the longer it works, and the more qualitatively the details can be processed.   

What makes synthesizing fullerite in large quantities so difficult is the high pressure required for the reaction to begin. Formation of the three-dimensional polymer begins at a pressure of 13 GPa, or 130,000 atm. But modern equipment cannot provide such pressure on a large scale.

The scientists in the current study have shown that adding carbon disulfide (CS 2 ) to the initial mixture of reagents can accelerate fullerite synthesis. This substance is synthesized on an industrial scale, is actively used in various enterprises, and the technologies for working with it are well-developed.

According to experiments, carbon disulfide is an end product, but here it acts as an accelerator. Using CS 2 , the formation of the valuable superhard material becomes possible even if the pressure is lower and amounts to 8GPa. In addition, while previous efforts to synthesize fullerite at a pressure of 13 GPa required heating up to 1100K (more than 820 degrees Celsius),in the present case it occurs at room temperature.  

“The discovery described in this article (the catalytic synthesis of ultrahard fullerite) will create a new research area in materials science because it substantially reduces the pressure required for synthesis and allows for manufacturing the material and its derivatives on an industrial scale”, explained Mikhail Popov, the leading author of the research and the head of the laboratory of functional nanomaterials at FSBI TISNCM.  

Note: Ultrahard fullerite is described in greater detail in the following scientific publications:  

  1. Is C 60 fullerite harder than diamond? V.Blank, M.Popov, S.Buga, V.Davydov, V.N. Denisov, A.N. Ivlev, B.N. Mavrin, V.Agafonov, R.Ceolin, H.Szwarc, A.Rassat. Physics Letters A Vol.188 (1994) P 281-286.

  2. Structures and physical properties of superhard and ultrahard 3D polymerized fullerites created from solid C60 by high pressure high temperature treatment. V.D. Blank, S.G. Buga, N.R. Serebryanaya, G.A. Dubitsky, B. Mavrin, M.Yu. Popov, R.H. Bagramov, V.M. Prokhorov, S.A. Sulynov, B.A. Kulnitskiy and Ye.V.  Tatyanin. Carbon, V.36, P 665-670 (1998)

  3. Ultrahard and superhard phases of fullerite C60 : comparison with diamond on hardness and wear. V.Blank, M.Popov, G.Pivovarov, N.Lvova, K.Gogolinsky, V.Reshetov. Diamond and Related Materials. Vol. 7, No 2-5 (1998), P 427-431

MIPT’s press service would like to thank scientists for their invaluable help in writing this article.

Alexandra O. Borissova | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://mipt.ru/en/news/harder_than_diamond_201409

Further reports about: Carbon Diamond FSBI Fullerene MSU pressure synthesis temperature

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht A new tool for discovering nanoporous materials
23.05.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Did you know that packaging is becoming intelligent through flash systems?
23.05.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>