What is stronger than a diamond ? Currently, diamond is regarded to be the hardest known material in the world. But by considering large compressive pressures under indenters, scientists have calculated that a material called wurtzite boron nitride (w-BN) has a greater indentation strength than diamond. The scientists also calculated that another material, lonsdaleite (also called hexagonal diamond, since it’s made of carbon and is similar to diamond), is even stronger than w-BN and 58 percent stronger than diamondThis analysis marks the first case where a material exceeds diamond in strength under the same loading conditions, explain the study’s authors, who are from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the, setting a new record.
Diamond no longer nature’s hardest material
Diamond will always be a girl’s best friend, but it may soon lose favour with industrial drillers.
The gemstone lost its title of the “world’s hardest material” to man-made nanomaterials some time ago. Now a rare natural substance looks likely to leave them all far behind – at 58 per cent harder than diamond.
Zicheng Pan at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China and colleagues simulated how atoms in two substances believed to have promise as very hard materials would respond to the stress of a finely tipped probe pushing down on them.
The first, wurtzite boron nitride has a similar structure to diamond, but is made up of different atoms.
The second, the mineral lonsdaleite, or hexagonal diamond is made from carbon atoms just like diamond, but they are arranged in a different shape.
Only small amounts of wurtzite boron nitride and lonsdaleite exist naturally or have been made in the lab, so until now no one had realised their superior strength. The simulation showed that wurtzide boron nitride would withstand 18 per cent more stress than diamond, and lonsdaleite 58 per cent more. If the results are confirmed with physical experiments, both materials would be far harder than any substance ever measured.
Is There Anything Harder Than Diamond?
Among all the elements that are present in nature, perhaps the most fascinating and astonishing element one is carbon. Having the most unique physical and chemical properties. It is perhaps the only element that is capable of forming the most complex of bonds and atomic structures. All life forms in this world are based on carbon, and it also has the atomic properties to link up with four other carbon atoms at once.
When the formation of diamonds comes to question. These carbon atoms bond up together to form up into stable lattices under specific temperature and pressure conditions. These ultra-hard structures are one of the hardest naturally occurring elements on Earth. And their unique properties have made them so soughed for that now. Diamonds are even being produce in manmade labs with the help of scientific processes.
Six Unique Materials Harder Than Diamond
Now, science and technology have had its name for evolving and improving from time to time; and though diamonds have their place as the hardest known element in the Mohs scale. Six other materials have been formulate which prove to be even harder than diamond. Yes, these are all manmade and artificial elements but still if we talk about elements according to their degree of hardness, these all stay superior and over the famed diamonds.
Before we go ahead and start describing these elements, it is essential to mention that there are several natural elements. Which though may not beat diamonds, but are still remarkably strong and durable in their forms. Noteworthy as they are: the spider silks are infamously popular because of their toughness; being tougher than even conventional naturally formed metals and alloys like aluminum and steel. They are so remarkably strong but yet so thin and lightweight that it almost seems impossible to believe upon the strength that these silks endure.
Other thank spider silks, silicon carbides are also immensely popular because of their toughness and hardness. And fall just a bit short than those of diamonds (they are harder than any known spider silk there is). They are popular among the masses by their name “moissanite”. And are widely used in the jewelry and gemstone markets as good and cost-effective alternatives to diamonds. Moreover, their high degree of hardness has also opened up their usage in many industrial and production sectors. For example being used as bulletproof vest plates to even brakes and clutches of cars. Along with hardness, the incredible properties of the electrical conductivity of moissanite has also made them popular among electrical and electronics industry as well.
Without any further ado, below, we will be discussing six unique materials that have surpassed the hardness limits of diamonds.
Wurtzite Boron Nitride
Similar to carbon, there are also other elements and compounds available. Which can form up crystals by bonding with other atoms and molecules. BN or boron nitride is such a compound, which is form by the combination of the fifth element (Boron) and the seventh element (Nitrogen) from the periodic table. The formations can be anything from being amorphous or non-crystalline to even hexagonal (like graphite) and cubic (like a diamond) in structure. Another form is the Wurtzite form.
The last three types of formations mentioned are extremely hard as well as rare in making. The Wurtzite formation is believe to be almost 18 percent harder than that of diamonds. Because of its special tetrahedral crystal lattice (unlike cubic ones of diamonds). Though there are not enough experiments to prove such claims. It surely will be something of a wonder to experience the qualities of such an element. Which is believed to be not very far away shortly.
Let’s imagine a scenario of a falling meteorite filled with graphite from space. It is natural for the meteorite to glow hot red due to the extreme temperature of its outer surface cause of all the friction that it experiences, but it is only the outer surface that truly becomes such hot. The inside of the meteorite remains cold enough.
Now after it collides with our earth’s surface, the inside of the meteorite experiences a huge change in its temperature and pressure conditions (unlike any other conditions possible on or on our earth’s surface). The extreme pressure change changes the compression rate of the graphite particles and turns it into a crystalline hexagonal lattice. Such pure Lonsdaleite is almost 58 percent harder than that of what the diamonds can be. Unfortunately, though, such pure formation is still yet to be achieved. And the real-life lonsdaleite is all softer than diamonds due to the impurities present inside them.
Dyneema is a type of thermoplastic polyethylene polymer, which contains long polymer chains and is of very high molecular weight. The intermolecular interactions between these long chains of polymers make them one of the toughest known thermoplastics to ever exist.
They are so tough that they are comparable to 15 times the strength of steel and can stop bullets at high speeds easily. And the fun fact is, despite being so tough, they are lighter than water.
Above is information what is stronger than a diamond. Hopefully, through the above content, you have a more detailed understanding of what is stronger than a diamond .Thank you for reading our post.