Sep 19, 2018 | Updated: 04:34 PM EDT

Fullerite Becomes Ultra-Hard Material: Russian Scientists Says It's Harder Than Diamond

Mar 24, 2017 01:35 AM EDT

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Physicists have reproduced the structure of a new material based on fullerite and single crystal diamond to show how it can obtain an ultra high hardness. This discovery gives potential conditions for obtaining ultra hard materials. The results were published in Carbon.

According to Phys.org, Fullerite is a molecular crystal containing fullerene molecules at its lattice nodes. Fullerene is a spherical shaped molecule of carbon atoms. It was first found over 30 years ago, and its discovery was awarded the Nobel Prize. Carbon spheres in Fullerite are said to be packed in different ways and the hardness of the material strongly depends on how the fullerenes are connected to each other. A team of Russian scientists has explained why fullerite becomes an ultra-hard material.

Alexander Kvashnin a candidate of Physics and Mathematics and the main author, said that a group of scientists headed by Vladimir D. Blank obtained a new material based on fullerenes - 'tisnumit or ultrahard fullerite' in 1988. This new material could scratch diamond because it was harder than diamond, according to the measurements.

According to Pakistan Defence, there is a group of scientists from Skoltech, MIPT, NUST MISIS and the Federal State Budgetary Scientific Institution Technological Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials (Moscow, FSBSI TISNCM, Troitsk) headed by Prof. Leonid Chernozatonskii from the Institute of Biochemical Physics (IBCP) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Pavel Sorokin, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Science, leading researcher at NUST MISIS Inorganic Nanomaterials Laboratory, and professor at MIPT, managed to explain why fullerite becomes an ultra-hard material and why it is said to be harder than diamond.

It is said that the obtained substance was not single crystal material as it contained 3D-polymerized molecules of C60 and amorphous carbon. Still, its crystal structure is not fully determined. The fullerene molecule is to be having excellent mechanical rigidity. At the same time, the fullerite crystal becomes quite soft material under normal temperature/conditions but turns harder than diamond under pressure (due to the 3D polymerization).

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