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Nitrogen 'Diamond' Created 73

Sensible Clod writes "Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry have synthesized a new form of nitrogen, with a stucture like that of diamond. This was accomplished by means of a crushing force (>110 GPa) at extremely high temperature (2000 K), of course. The result, according to PhysOrg, is a very hard crystal with a lot of energy stored in it, which leads to the possibility of using it as a non-polluting fuel or high-explosive."
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Nitrogen 'Diamond' Created

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  • Properties? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by justanyone ( 308934 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2004 @02:19PM (#10505432) Homepage Journal

    Several Questions:
    1. Translucent?
    2. Melting point?
    3. Stable at STP ?
    4. Does It Burn if I touch a match to it? Explode?
    5. Does it resemble N2, which is stable, or not?
    6. What is the hardness level (Mohr's scale) ?
    7. Will it degrade over time under exposure to water?
    8. Is the method for creating it highly expensive or could this be scaled up?
    9. If it is explosive, how do we store it safely?
    10. What are the mechanical properties? If it's stable and otherwise useful, will it vibrate with a piezoelectric effect?
    11. Is it a semiconductor, conductor, or insulator?
    12. Does it lase (can we use it as a pump medium for a laser) ?

  • by Banner ( 17158 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2004 @02:20PM (#10505448) Journal
    Getting the energy out in a controllable stream, not all at once. It's not the storage of energy that is ever the issue: Capacitors and high-explosives store lots. It's just getting it out the way you want it that is the trick.
  • Re:Properties? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kozar_The_Malignant ( 738483 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2004 @03:02PM (#10505918)
    From the article:
    "First of all, we should try to recover the compound to ambient temperature and pressure", Eremets says.

    Translation: "It spontaneously goes poof (or kaboom) when we release the pressure in the machine."
  • fuel, my ass! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by museumpeace ( 735109 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2004 @03:02PM (#10505925) Journal
    This is like Bush talking about using hydrogen to solve the looming oil shortages...
    How much energy do you put in to the process and the material compared to the amount you can get out of it? These uneconomical fuels are a half assed notion that only have real applications where weight or efficiency are hard constraints and money is not, i.e. space craft propulsion.
  • by Ayaress ( 662020 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2004 @03:06PM (#10505966) Journal
    I guess that's why they listed high explosive among the uses. Even if you can't control the blast whatsoever, if it blows up, you can find a use for it.
  • by EdwardElric ( 799642 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2004 @03:50PM (#10506489)
    Every fuel takes more energy to produce than you can get out of it. This will be true whether the fuel is ethanol or anti-matter. It's the second law of thermodynamics.

    What makes a fuel non-polluting is the waste products. A fuel that, when used, gives off water is non-polluting compared to a fuel that gives off carbon monoxide. In this case, if the polymeric nitrogen could be converted to the more stable triple-bonded molecule, you would get common molecular nitrogen and a lot of energy. Thus, this has the potential to be a non-polluting fuel source.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 12, 2004 @03:55PM (#10506562)
    Better yet, don't call her a "bitch" and then maybe she might not leave your ass and take half your shit!
  • Re:fuel, my ass! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jeif1k ( 809151 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2004 @04:16PM (#10506811)
    You're right that hydrogen needs to be generated. The way hydrogen solves the looming oil shortages is by using it for energy storage and transport: the use of hydrogen allows solar and wind energy to be generated where they can be generated efficiently and then safely shipped to where they are needed.
  • Re:Fuel? Baah. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JohnPM ( 163131 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2004 @06:17PM (#10508210) Homepage
    Think rocket fuel. The weight is critical to how much fuel you'll need. Lighter fuels are invaluable even if it takes heaps of energy to generate them.

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