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What's the strongest material available?


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"Note that as of 2006, carbon nanotubes have an approximate price of $25/gram, and 20,000 kg - twenty million times that much - would be necessary to form even a seed elevator. This price is decreasing rapidly, and large-scale production would reduce it further, but the price of suitable carbon nanotube cable is anyone's guess at this time."

 

Space elevator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

"While theoretically carbon nanotubes can have tensile strengths beyond 120 GPa, in practice the highest tensile strength ever observed in a single-walled tube is 52 GPa, and such tubes averaged breaking between 30 and 50 GPa….the strongest steel resists no more than 5.5 Gpa…”

 

Hmmm…. A space elevator would need 65-120 Gpa….and so far 52 has been achieved…not too far away though…

 

However there is another part of Wikipedia which claims the strongest steel has an Ultimate strength of just Mpa 1860 and a density of 7.8g/cm cubed, whereas Carbon nanotubes have a strength of MPa 62000, and a density of1.34 (cm cubed)...

 

238.47 MPa/cm cubed for steel

 

46268.66 MPa/cm cubed for nanotubes.....so that's 194 times the strength to weight ratio....quite a difference...:evil: :dogwalk:

 

I'm not sure about the cost-to-strength ratio, but perhaps someone with a bit of expertise in the steel industry knows how the prices vary...

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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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