Graphene is great and I’ve gone on about it
at great length before so click here if you’re interested. But it’s basically a miracle material
– the hardest and one of the lightest known to man that could revolutionise everything
from electronics to fabrics once it’s perfected. But graphene is old news because there’s a
new kid on the block and it’s even tougher – twice as still as graphene and carbon nanotubes
and stronger than any material known to man. It’s called carbyne, or linear acetylenic
carbon. And it’s quite astonishing. Although it’s structurally very similar to diamond,
it’s over 40 times tougher, and being only an atom thick, it’s iincredibly light.
But the material itself is only half the story. Carbyne was first theorised in 1967, but until
now, no one has managed to successfully make it. In fact, there was real doubt in the scientific
community about whether it was possible to create it at all under real world conditions.
But not only has it been created, it’s been done, stably, at room temperatures. The research
was carried out by a team from Rice University and published on the Arxiv online journal.
The material could have countless uses but the most obvious are in nano-mechanics, that’s
tiny, microscopic moving parts, and in creating super-strong, super-lightweight fabrics. And
in lenses, sensors, electrical systems…