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Science Technology

Scientists Discover Diamond Nanothreads 79

First time accepted submitter sokol815 writes Penn State University scientists discovered diamond nanothreads can be created from benzene when compressed. The compression brings the benzene molecules into a highly reactive state. It was expected that the molecules would create a non-ordered glass-like material, but due to the slow speed of decompression used, the benzene molecules ordered themselves into a naturally repeating crystal. The experiment took place at room-temperature. Early results indicate that these nanothreads are stronger than previously produced carbon nanotubes, and may have applications throughout the engineering industry.
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Scientists Discover Diamond Nanothreads

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  • Yes, but.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2014 @11:03PM (#48399873)

    Should it be called Diamondium or Diamondillium?

    • How about "not diamond"?

      Diamond is characterized by each carbon bonding with 4 other carbons. You can't get a thread out of it. You might claim that you have, but all along that thread there will be carbons not bonded to four others. Those are called defects.

      From a diamond point-of-view, this stuff would be considered defect-laden pseudo-'diamond', or just simply not diamond.

      Still, sexy headline.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2014 @11:37PM (#48399991)

        The researchers themselves didn't use the D word but called the material "close- packed bundles of subnanometre-diameter sp3-bonded carbon threads capped with hydrogen, crystalline in two dimensions and short-range ordered in the third"

        • by ColaMan ( 37550 )

          Yeah, but you can't sell *that* on The Shopping Network, can you?

        • That would have made a much better headline!

          I can only imagine the thought that went into the "diamond" headline. "Hmmm, our readers are never going to understand this, let's see if we can dumb it down. Hmmm... we'll definitely keep "nano". Carbon is not sexy enough, can we compare it to something else made of carbon?... Diamond! What about diamond nanothreads? Perfect!

          Meanwhile the researchers can't believe what they're reading.

          I was already wondering what had happened to all the hydrogens in C6H6. Now I k

        • So simple, so why the fuck did the article have to call it something so complex.

        • close- packed bundles of subnanometre-diameter sp3-bonded carbon threads capped with hydrogen, crystalline in two dimensions and short-range ordered in the third

          I'll stick with Diamond
      • Diamond is characterized by each carbon bonding with 4 other carbons. You can't get a thread out of it.

        Not that this is a diamond - the paper doesn't use the word, apparently - but doesn't that depend how you define "thread"? I don't see anything in the summary about the size of these things, so what if they're 100 atoms thick? At what thickness could they no longer be diamond?

      • by Neil Boekend ( 1854906 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @06:02AM (#48400799)

        According to the preview on the Nature site each carbon atom is linked to 3 other carbon atoms and one hydrogen. Plastic is a better description than diamond. "Normal" carbon nanotubes are closer to diamond than this.
        The preview didn't call it a diamond by the way. It does equate it's properties to diamondoids and nanotubes.

        Having said that, if the result is a non-toxic high tensile strength material that can be used to make a space elevator then I don't really care what they call it. It's cool anyway.
        They could call it "Superdung" and I'd still love the stuff.

      • by Matheus ( 586080 )

        Let's just call it "hyperfilament" then...

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

      • Not to mention the summary mentioned it was an ordering of benzene molecules, not carbon atoms. I think the name diamond is completely useless to describe what's happening here.

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      If it's chemically diamond, maybe call it diamond?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      clearly, it's dark diamond.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think you're the word you're looking for is 'Mithril'.

    • How about "The Molecule Formerly Known as Benzene"?

    • Nanothread and the Benzenes.

  • by Tim the Gecko ( 745081 ) on Sunday November 16, 2014 @11:16PM (#48399931)

    You wouldn't guess from the summary that the article title is "Going up! Cosmic elevator could reach space on a cable made of diamonds".

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You wouldn't guess from the summary that the article title is "Going up! Cosmic elevator could reach space on a cable made of diamonds".

      Quite obvious that the summary writer and the editors have no clue what Fountains of Paradise [wikipedia.org] is about, either.

    • by rroman ( 2627559 )
      That means it is actually pretty good summary. Everybody knows that we need super strong threads to build space elevator so it is not worth mentioning. The rest, however, is pretty goddamn interesting and relevant. I did a little bit of research and couldn't find much more relevant information about the discovery than it is written in this summary.
    • And the operator's name is Lucy...

      I have yet to see a single old fashion carbon nanotube, and they're already obsolete... Does anybody besides researchers buy this stuff? I mean, what does the future hold? Should I trade nanotubes, or night-crawlers?

    • by Guy Harris ( 3803 ) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Monday November 17, 2014 @02:49AM (#48400419)

      You wouldn't guess from the summary that the article title is "Going up! Cosmic elevator could reach space on a cable made of diamonds".

      Breaking news: Slashdot submission headline less hyperbolic than TFA's headline.

      In other news, Satan cuts ribbon to celebrate the opening of a new ski resort. Film at 11.

    • Wow! That sure is an unexpected application of a new super-tensile material. :P

    • Using this for a space elevator isn't the best use for this

      If a space elevator can be made practically out of this stuff then yes, a space elevator is the best use for it.

  • Now all we need is a manwich.
  • This is great and all, but the real question is does this new method allow them to produce it in large quantities while maintaining its strength?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The public and the press underestimate and understate the difficulty in mass-producing new materials. Just because we can make a little, enough to study, doesn't mean we can efficiently make more or that developing those methods will be trivial or guaranteed to succeed.

    Carbon nanotube production is still a tangled mixed mess 25+ years after their discovery and study. Graphene production is improving but still not good enough for commercial use 10 years after its discovery and study. These diamond nanothread

    • I call it the Hollywood effect. You see in tv and movies once someone figures out how to make a unique item it can be duplicated quickly in a series of montage shots over seconds/ or at the extreme hours. Most people don't realize it takes years to decades from proof of concept to practical product.

      Heck I am still waiting for color eink displays. They have been talked about for 6 years off the top of my head. But still are not in mass produced shipping products.

      Even in unique yet known products development

  • Using this for a space elevator isn't the best use for this. If these fibers are flexible enough, you could weave them into flexible body armor. Imagine light weight "kitchen" gloves that you can't cut through even with the sharpest knife. Shark protection (but not against lasers...yet). These fibers could replace carbon fiber in high strength areas. Have short enough fibers and use them for 3D printing. They are already using carbon fiber in 3D printers, this could replace it for extreme strength par
  • I think I have a machine that makes this stuff all the time as a waste product. Unfortunately, it is likely to be quite difficult to extract the nanothreads as they are a tiny part of the residue in the diesel particulate filter in the exhaust of my car's diesel engine!
  • by sproketboy ( 608031 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @10:40AM (#48401685)

    Not sure why we'd want to post to a CNN article. Here's the scientific american link:

    http://www.scientificamerican.... [scientificamerican.com]

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