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What's the strongest material available?


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Well, that depends upon what you mean by "toughest", doesn't it?   In physics and material science, there are several completely different measures of toughness.   Compression -- how much "squeeze" ca

I could suggest several, but none of them would be the "best" in any single category. What you are looking for is "unobtainium". :) But my nomination for the best all-round "toughest" material woul

But diamond will also be brittle. And from what I know, it is cleaved in specific planes with ease.   And, er guys, don't forgetr the carbides and other interstitial alloy solids. What about tungsten

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Does anyone know what the toughest material is? ...?

Well, that depends upon what you mean by "toughest", doesn't it?

 

In physics and material science, there are several completely different measures of toughness.

 

Compression -- how much "squeeze" can the material take?

Tension -- how much "pulling apart" can the material take?

Elasticity -- how much can the material be stretched without damage?

[those last two are similar but distinctly different]

Rigidity -- how well does the material resist deformation?

Hardness -- how well does the material resist scratching or shock?

 

There are also concepts of the ability to resist high temperatures, and to resist a sudden increase in temperature (thermal shock). Same for very low (cryogenic) temperatures.

 

For each of these measures of "toughness" there will be a different set of materials that are "best".

 

Now, for tension (or tensile strength) the ultimate winner will be... ta-da... the carbon nanotube. The reason for this is found in physical chemistry. The strongest molecular bond among all atoms is the carbon-carbon bond. It is stronger by far than any metal-metal bond or any ionic bond.

 

A cable made entirely of braided nanotubes ("Buckytubes") would have a tensile strength (per kilogram of cable) in excess of 100,000 times that of the strongest metal cable. Even stronger than spider silk.

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Hey, you old Pyromaniac, you - what would you say the best "all rounder" would be? ...?

I could suggest several, but none of them would be the "best" in any single category. What you are looking for is "unobtainium". :)

But my nomination for the best all-round "toughest" material would be Titanium.

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I could suggest several, but none of them would be the "best" in any single category. What you are looking for is "unobtainium". :)

But my nomination for the best all-round "toughest" material would be Titanium.

Granted, it won't be the best in any single category - what I'm talking about is the one material that would cover the biggest range. It won't be nearly as hard as diamond, but it won't be as brittle - if you catch my drift.

 

I suppose the one with the broadest footprint on all the scales.

 

...but I'd tend to agree with the Titanium bit, though.

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Titanium is good, of course diamond is pretty darn tough (they make a lot of things meant to destroy other things out of it).

 

There are some man made concoctions that are pretty "tough" and what is unusual about them is that they require very precise manufacturing to maintain their strength. I remember a professor in college who showed us the molecular structure of a material he had created that worked as a high temperature superconductor. The neat thing is that it didn't work without the so called "weakening" ingredient being placed at certain points on the lattice structure. It contained chromium and silica and a couple of other elements.

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But diamond will also be brittle. And from what I know, it is cleaved in specific planes with ease.

 

And, er guys, don't forgetr the carbides and other interstitial alloy solids. What about tungsten carbide and titanium carbide? Harder than the orignal metals in any case.

TiC (titanium carbide) has the highest melting point of all known molecules. Probably the highest of ALL molecules. We find its spectrum as the very first molecule to form in the atmospheres of cooling red giant stars!

 

So, if nothing else is solid at TiC's melting point, how do we make TiC? :doh:

I know, but I'm not telling. Any guesses????

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So, if nothing else is solid at TiC's [titanium carbide's] melting point, how do we make TiC? :)

I know, but I'm not telling. Any guesses????

Magnetic Confinement?

 

 

EDIT: There are a lot of companies out there trying to find cheaper ways. They seem to add titanium dust with carbon atmosphere, add heat and pressure... sort of like vapor deposition. Interesting it is... the carbon coats the Ti dust. What next though?

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Magnetic Confinement?...

No.

Lasers!

 

TiC cannot be made in bulk, for the reason I stated above.

But you can create layers of nearly pure crystallized TiC bonded to a polished surface of Titanium, by dusting the surface with graphite and blasting it with extremely short pulses of laser light. This process is used to strengthen (and increase thermal durability) of high performance jet engine fan blades.

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I would have to say spider's silk looks fairly interesting, and could be used in the future as a "superstrength" material. We just need to figure out how to synthsize it properly.

Apparently, some scientists have been able to genetically alter goats to produce spider silk :eek:.

Although I do not believe this experiment was very successful at creating any silk of significant quality, at least we have a basis off of which other future work can be done.

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