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Yale-Led Team Solves Half-Century Carbon-Crystal Mystery 42

slew writes "Unlike its more famous carbon cousins: diamonds and fullerenes, you've probably never heard of M-Carbon, but this form of compressed graphite which is as hard as diamonds has baffled researcher for half a century. Over the past few years, many theoretical computations have suggested at least a dozen different crystal structures for this phase of carbon, but new experiments showed that only one crystal structure fits the data: M-carbon."
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Yale-Led Team Solves Half-Century Carbon-Crystal Mystery

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  • Toughness? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Twinbee ( 767046 ) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @01:27PM (#40730567) Homepage
    How 'tough' is this M-carbon in comparison to diamond? Actual diamond is very hard, but its toughness is only average, and hence quite brittle like glass.

    If it's tough and hard, we could be onto a winner.
  • by Omnifarious ( 11933 ) * <> on Sunday July 22, 2012 @01:38PM (#40730639) Homepage Journal

    This is really badly written. It's missing several obvious and important pieces of data.

    For example, what was the experiment they did in which they damaged diamond? The way it's described “Our study shows that M-carbon is extremely incompressible and hard, rivaling the extreme properties of diamond so much that it damages diamond,”, it sounds like the very existence of the material damages all diamond everywhere.

    And what the heck is the crystal structure anyway? I know what the atomic arrangement of graphite is, and I know what the atomic arrangement of diamond is, but what the heck is 'M-Carbon'? How are the atoms arranged there? The article gives no clue.

    And lastly, the article hints that after M-Carbon (whatever that is) has been created with extreme pressure, it stays that way even after the pressure is released. But it doesn't outright actually say it anywhere. Does it?

    Three important and obvious questions that the article totally fails to address. All the while tossing around fluff data that's vaguely interesting, but ultimately not important, or tantalizing hints at important things, but no followup. It's annoying. The writer responsible for this piece ought to be given some obnoxious and menial task and then let out to re-write the piece periodically, repeating until it's actually halfway decent.

Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. -- Christopher Morley