Carbyne is stronger than any known material

Aug 20, 2013 by Nancy Owano weblog
Carbyne under tension. (a) DFT calculations of energy as a function of strain ɛ. The electronic density of carbyne (polyyne) (b) in equilibrium and (c) under tension shows a more pronounced bond alternation in strained carbyne. (d) Bond length alternation and (e) band gap increase as a function of strain. Credit: arXiv:1308.2258 [cond-mat.mtrl-sci]

(Phys.org) —A paper on Arxiv presents a detailed look at the properties of carbyne, stronger than graphene and diamond, a true supermaterial. The paper is titled, "Carbyne from first principles: Chain of C atoms, a nanorod or a nanorope?" Authors are Mingjie Liu, Vasilii I. Artyukhov, Hoonkyung Lee, Fangbo Xu, and Boris I. Yakobson, from Rice University, in Houston, from the departments of mechanical engineering and materials science, chemistry, and the Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology. They have calculated the properties of carbyne. Described as a chain of carbon atoms that are linked by alternate triple and single bonds or by consecutive double bonds, carbyne is of special interest, chemists find, because it is stronger, and stiffer than anything that they have seen before. The discovery of carbyne is not entirely new. Explorations of carbyne have their own history.

Indications of naturally-formed carbyne were observed in such environments as shock-compressed graphite, , and meteorites, said the authors. Recently, chains with length of up to 44 atoms have been chemically synthesized in solution.

Elsewhere, a Rice University report on carbyne research in 2011 said that while carbyne is considered an exotic material, recent experiments showed it can be synthesized and stabilized at room temperature, where the storage is mainly of interest.

Of special interest in the new paper on carbyne is that research by the Rice team indicates just how strong and stiff is this supermaterial. They were able to calculate its properties. In presenting a summary and conclusions of their research, the authors said that they were able to create a comprehensive portrait of carbyne. Some key points are as follows. It has an extreme tensile stiffness, stiffer by a factor of two than and carbon nanotubes—and a specific strength surpassing that of any other known material. Its flexibility is between those of typical polymers and double-stranded DNA, they continued, with a persistence length of ~14 nm.

A combination of unusual mechanical and electronic properties, they said, is of great interest for applications in nanomechanical systems, opto-/electromechanical devices, strong and light materials for mechanical applications, or as high–specific-area energy storage matrices.

Their research was supported by the Robert Welch Foundation, a source of funding for chemistry research, and the Department of Energy.

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More information: Carbyne from first principles: Chain of C atoms, a nanorod or a nanorope? arXiv:1308.2258 [cond-mat.mtrl-sci] arxiv.org/abs/1308.2258

Abstract
We report an extensive study of the properties of carbyne using first-principles calculations. We investigate carbyne's mechanical response to tension, bending, and torsion deformations. Under tension, carbyne is about twice as stiff as the stiffest known materials and has an unrivaled specific strength of up to 7.5*10^{7} Nm/kg, requiring a force of ~10 nN to break a single atomic chain. Carbyne has a fairly large room-temperature persistence length of about 14 nm. Surprisingly, the torsional stiffness of carbyne can be zero but can be `switched on' by appropriate functional groups at the ends. We reconstruct the equivalent continuum-elasticity representation, providing the full set of elastic moduli for carbyne, showing its extreme mechanical performance (e.g. a Young's modulus of 32.7 TPa with an effective mechanical thickness of 0.772 {AA}). We also find an interesting coupling between strain and band gap of carbyne, which is strongly increased under tension, from 3.2 to 4.4 eV under a 10% strain. Finally, we study the performance of carbyne as a nanoscale electrical cable, and estimate its chemical stability against self-aggregation, finding an activation barrier of 0.6 eV for the carbyne-carbyne cross-linking reaction and an equilibrium cross-link density for two parallel carbyne chains of 1 cross-link per 17 C atoms (2.2 nm).

via Arxiv Blog

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User comments : 15

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Moebius
3 / 5 (2) Aug 20, 2013
What is tensile stiffness? I don't recall hearing that before.
nkalanaga
5 / 5 (6) Aug 20, 2013
It's not a common term, and I had to look it up on Google, then wade through a lot of irrelevant material. Basically, it's a measure of how much it bends under a side load while in tension. A typical "stiff" material is defined by how much it bends when unstressed, like a string laid on a table. In engineering, that's an unusual condition, so they measure tensile or compressive stiffness, depending on the type of load.

I wonder if they could make this in long enough strands to build a space elevator?
Sean_W
1 / 5 (5) Aug 20, 2013
That new method of making "3D chainmail"--modular scaffolds of carbon fibre crosses--might benefit from this significantly, I would guess.

I wonder if the combination of strength and low density would be enough to maintain a vacuum if covered with the right skin to create a lighter than air structure without a lifting gas (or with only a small amount to counteract whatever pressure the structure can't). The scaffold could be made in the form of a sphere to optimize the distribution of compressive force felt on the surface area onto the rest of the scaffold.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (13) Aug 20, 2013
Indications of naturally-formed carbyne were observed in such environments as shock-compressed graphite, interstellar dust, and meteorites, said the authors.

On earth electric discharge in plasma is used to create these types of materials, I would imagine natural would use the same processes. Anyway, these types of material may very well create a "skeletal" structure throughout the universe, sadly DM would not longer be needed.

http://arxiv.org/...1216.pdf
http://www.plasma...vCos.pdf
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (11) Aug 20, 2013
YuriPrazdnikov
1 / 5 (3) Aug 21, 2013
Oriented carbyne is ideal topological insulator (created in 1992 by Russian scientists):
"Superinjection from Oriented Carbyne as the Result of Landau Quantization in Giant Pseudo-Magnetic Field" doi: 10.4236/jmp.2013.47134.
So carbyne's era will begin soon, after the era of "great graphene's mistake".
By the way Kroto called carbyne "the myth that should now be laid to rest". But there is reference to Kroto in this article )
Moreover carbyne was invented by Russian scientist A.M.Sladkov in 1960 - this fact should be known by the author but there is not such reference.
Osiris1
1 / 5 (2) Aug 21, 2013
It's not a common term, and I had to look it up on Google, then wade through a lot of irrelevant material. Basically, it's a measure of how much it bends under a side load while in tension. A typical "stiff" material is defined by how much it bends when unstressed, like a string laid on a table. In engineering, that's an unusual condition, so they measure tensile or compressive stiffness, depending on the type of load.

I wonder if they could make this in long enough strands to build a space elevator?


Good thinking. This stuff may be better than the nanotubes...maybe... but we Americans will not do it because it was invented by a Russian and they can prove it in court so stealing it or strongarming it ALA microsoft will not do...so we can not farm the manufacture to China 'cuz they will just..take it! Maybe the Russians will make the first space elevator...ala a memorial to Konstantin Tsiolkovskiy.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 21, 2013
"Monomolecular wire (or Monofilament) is a fictional wire, often used as a weapon, consisting of single strand of strongly-bonded molecules, like carbon nanotubes. It has applications in cutting objects and severing adjacent molecules."
JRi
not rated yet Aug 21, 2013
Polyacetylene is, I recall, explosive stuff. In chemistry, copper catalyst are used to attach acetylene moieties to each other, with the aid of oxygen. That's why copper is considered unsuitable metal for valves in acetylene gas tanks.
nkalanaga
3 / 5 (2) Aug 22, 2013
The Russians may have discovered it, but if it occurs naturally, they can't copyright it under international law.

TheGhostofOtto1923: I thought of that one too...
Gmr
not rated yet Aug 22, 2013
Polyacetylene is, I recall, explosive stuff. In chemistry, copper catalyst are used to attach acetylene moieties to each other, with the aid of oxygen. That's why copper is considered unsuitable metal for valves in acetylene gas tanks.

This did seem reminiscent of acetylene - I'm imagining this is a lot less stable chemically than the bonds in graphene, diamond, nanotubes and fullerenes, and it's a question of whether or not stabilization would compromise the theoretical strength.
YuriPrazdnikov
1 / 5 (4) Aug 22, 2013
But why there is no reference to the Russian work? Discussing here fact was known by Russian 30 years ago. Just read their works. Carbyne is not only the strongest material, most interesting is that it is capable of self-organization to the oriented form. This form is ideal topological insulator. But Western science is will aware of this in 50 years, and then will give for his new discovery)
It is very strange that the repeated discovering allocate grants. Perhaps this is the dead end of Western science.
Gmr
not rated yet Aug 22, 2013
Research into polyacetylene/carbyne goes back quite a ways - there are referenced papers in the arxiv article going back to 1962 - but I'm not sure you could really support the notion that nobody knew about or thought about polyacetylene/carbyne before the Soviets. Have you researched any other references other than Soviet-era scientists, or is the assumption that they came up with it first based on conjecture?
Birger
not rated yet Aug 22, 2013
I suppose cabyne will first be used as a component in composite materials.
YuriPrazdnikov
1 / 5 (4) Aug 23, 2013
I have samples with oriented chains without crosslinking in 1000 atoms. They are almost transparent. Transparency is a good sign of ideal-oriented carbyne. Crosslinking give brown and dark color. Black means a very poor quality of carbyne. To produce the best films you should use our impulse condensation method with ionic stimulation. There is no other way.