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Pencil 'Lead' Mightier than Diamonds?

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the rapidograph-triumphs dept.

Science 95

GuardianBob420 writes "Space Daily is reporting that a team of researchers has used a combination of extreme pressure and irradiation to alter the molecular structure of graphite -- resulting in a previously unobserved super-hard form of the stuff. From the article: 'The graphite that resulted from our experiment was so hard that when we released the pressure we saw that it had actually cracked the diamond anvil.'"

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95 comments

fp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7283365)

It was "hard" but hi did it! First post! Get it? "Hard"?

bahahah Haaaa... I kill myself!

Re:fp! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7283448)

We wish you would

-everybody else reading slashdot

Know what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7288754)

I'm with you 99%.

old adage (0, Offtopic)

sidvishus9 (652515) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283443)

blah blah blah pen is mighter than the sword blah blah blah

Re:old adage (3, Funny)

dar (15755) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283536)

I think you mean the pencil is mightier than the sword.

pen, pencil or sword? bazooka! (2, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283963)

If you're rich enough to have a record collection,
I'll bring my bazooka round for inspection.

C30 C60 C90 go
see-three-oh see-six-oh
C30 C60 C90 go
see-ninety-go
three-oh six-oh nine-oh
GO!

- Bow Wow Wow

-1, Offtopic, I know, I know. C'mon, moderators, give it your best shot, I can take it! :)

Re:pen, pencil or sword? bazooka! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7287674)

Interesting? I would say -1 troll.

Lasts longer than diamonds? (5, Funny)

Mac73117 (122267) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283504)

Does this mean deBeers will offer graphite engagement rings?

Ducks...

Re:Lasts longer than diamonds? (0, Redundant)

avalys (221114) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283528)

Graphite is a form of carbon, as are diamonds. They're essentially the same material, just in different molecular arrangements.

Re:Lasts longer than diamonds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7284492)

What do you think diamonds turn into over a period, t, such that t forever?

Re:Lasts longer than diamonds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7285507)

It's true that diamonds don't last forever, but they will last longer than your marriage.

Re:Lasts longer than diamonds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7286080)

Exactly. Diamonds seem horribly innefficient for the task of symbolizing a marriage which will never last more than about 100 years at the outside. We could easily get away with something less expensive like quartz. Damn women. They just can't be efficient about anything.

Re:Lasts longer than diamonds? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#7286762)

Does this mean deBeers will offer graphite engagement rings?

Yes, but only geeks will buy them.

"But darling, it does not matter if its less sparkley; it lasts just as long."

Anyhow, stronger pencils means that they will ban pencils from plane flights.

Re:Lasts longer than diamonds? (2, Funny)

Canar (46407) | more than 10 years ago | (#7287299)

Okay, sir, come through the carbon detector... Oh, no, sorry, wait, you'll have to take off your head first.

Yup. They're gonna ban carbon on international flights. That'll help the airline industry.

Re:Lasts longer than diamonds? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#7288264)

you'll have to take off your head first...[if they]...ban carbon on international flights....

Brings a new meaning to "hard-headed".

Re:Lasts longer than diamonds? (1)

linoleo (718385) | more than 10 years ago | (#7289555)

"lasts longer than your marriage anyway"

Hey, this is great! (3, Funny)

dacarr (562277) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283597)

Now instead of a diamond ring, I just have to get her a number -9e-62 pencil! Now if I can only figure out where to get one....

Re:Hey, this is great! (1)

PD (9577) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283895)

As the number gets bigger, the pencil gets harder. I'm sure there's a joke there somewhere. The point is that you would buy a +9e62 pencil if you wanted a really hard one, er hard diamond. Damn why is it so hard, er, difficult to talk about carbon?

Re:Hey, this is great! (0, Offtopic)

dacarr (562277) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284393)

Yes, what you said. I *thought* it was like that...

Re:Hey, this is great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7284526)

I'm pretty sure it goes from 4B down to say 1B, then HB, then 1H up to say 4H. So really he just left the "units," such as they are, off. ...a -9 x 10^62 B pencil .... yeah. Now it's funny.

Forget super-hard pencils (2, Funny)

DogBarf (147635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283686)

I want that diamond anvil!

What does this prove? (4, Interesting)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283698)

'The graphite that resulted from our experiment was so hard that when we released the pressure we saw that it had actually cracked the diamond anvil.'"

Does this really prove anything? I broke lots of glass windows with rubber balls as a kid.

Re:What does this prove? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7283841)

What in the hell does that have to do with anything?? Are you really that dumb? jesus fucking christ

How many windows have you broken with a grain of sand?

Re:What does this prove? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7284183)

Actually, my brother has had the front of a watch destroyed by a jeweler who wasn't careful with his press. A grain of sand got between the watchface and the metal press as he was putting it back together, shattering the flat glass face. Sand breaking glass.

If the material doesn't have anywhere to go, and you put enough force on it, the reactive force is bound to do -something- to your anvil or other equipment.

Re:What does this prove? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7284807)

The grain of sand was, essentially, flawless in all probability. It was small, so it's largest flaw must also be small. Sand, sillica, or quartz is very hard, which is synonymous with strong. The glass, while strong, is not stronger than quartz. But neither quartz nor glass (or sapphire for that matter) are tough. So the larger watch face, vastly larger than a grain of sand, was likely to have a much larger flaw. But then there is the bending moment, and the ability to the sand itself to introduce a flaw. All of a sudden, a stress is applied, and before one knows it, all the flaws can feel each other and the stress concentrations and decide to link up. And a fracture is born. Viola.

Re:What does this prove? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7284876)

Thank you Captain Superfluous!

Re:What does this prove? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7284935)

Viola

What does an outsized volin have to do with any of this?

Re:What does this prove? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7285375)

... god damn people.. voila* violin*

Re:What does this prove? (0, Flamebait)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284646)

The point is, idiot, that just because you can break a with b doesn't make b harder than a.

More proof of the downward spiral of slashdot.

Re:What does this prove? (1)

pla (258480) | more than 10 years ago | (#7285224)

The point is, idiot, that just because you can break a with b doesn't make b harder than a.

Wow, two insulting comments to the guy, both of which agreed with him.

I do so try, but simply can't force myself to act that ignorantly caustic.

Impressive.


More proof of the downward spiral of slashdot.

No argument there, though your "proof" occurs one level deeper in the thread than you intended.

Re:What does this prove? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7285953)

Even more impressive is that fact that he replied to himself, calling the first guy an idiot but looking like he called himself an idiot. Then there's you, who didn't notice this.

Whee! This spiral ride is fun!

Re:What does this prove? (1)

elveu (573261) | more than 10 years ago | (#7288198)

i thought that was the point of the post. in refrence to the graphite cracking the dimond anvil.

Re:What does this prove? (1)

pyr0 (120990) | more than 10 years ago | (#7293423)

You're right, it doesn't really prove anything. My impression is that they are confusing the ability of a substance to withstand very high pressures with hardness. Now if you can actually scratch a diamond with this new form of carbon, then that would be a different story.

Yet another substance... (4, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283740)

...that if they could mass-produce it could completely change our lives.

I tell ya, there's a revolution in materials engineering happening. There are so many substances being discovered or created that have radical properties these days. Sooner or later one of them will be mass-produced cheaply and efficiently and we will have space elevators and super-powerful batteries and all kinds of other cool stuff.

You know, it's a good thing Wile E. Coyote never got a hold of a diamond anvil.

Re:Yet another substance... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7283904)

You know, it's a good thing Wile E. Coyote never got a hold of a diamond anvil.

The DeBeers cartel drove ACME out of the diamond market.

Re:Yet another substance... (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284226)

Yeah, two months' salary will only get you a Batman suit where the wings peel off when you hit a cliff.

And let's not even go into the jet-powered pogo stick and earthquake pills.

Face it, ACME was undercut.

Re:Yet another substance... (0)

grosa (648390) | more than 10 years ago | (#7287382)

give it another few years, and we'll see this stuff popping up everywhere. it'll be pretty amazing to see what they'll do with it.

of course, some one will unboutably patent the technique and charge dollars for what should be pennies

Imagine bycicles made of this (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283772)

Or very lightweight airplanes.

Imagine computer cases that dont bend and break. Ever.

Imagine taller skyscrapers.

Re:Imagine bycicles made of this (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7283876)

Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
living for today...

Imagine there's no countries,
It isnt hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace...

Imagine no possesions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say Im a dreamer,
but Im not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

Re:Imagine bycicles made of this (4, Funny)

borgboy (218060) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284211)

Imagine a popular geek writer penning a novel about an era when nanotech is rampant and carbon crystals are ubiquitous.

Imagine reading that novel.

Imagine [amazon.com]

Re:Imagine bycicles made of this (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284348)

I've never had a computer case that didn't break or bend. It's kind of hard to break or bend them when they spend 99.9999% of their time on a desk just sitting there.

Re:Imagine bycicles made of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7285489)

I was personally thinking "laptop" when I read his post.

Re:Imagine bycicles made of this (1)

Odinson (4523) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284509)

Or 20 ft convertable muscle car hybrids painted black with 350 hp electric motors that do a 1/4 mile in 9 seconds with a flat torque band.

And the whole thing weighs 1 ton and get 36 miles to the gallon. Eat it stupid Navigator muscle car wanabee. Try to take that turn at 100 mph.

We have tax free trucks over 6000lbs now we just need cars under 1000 pounds to qualify too.

Re:Imagine bycicles made of this (1)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284939)

Imagine riding such a bicycle at the bottom of one of Jupiter's methane oceans. Don't understand? Go RTA.

Re:Imagine bycicles made of this (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 10 years ago | (#7285432)

> Imagine computer cases that dont bend and break. Ever.

Horrible. How the fuck would you mod them?

> Or very lightweight airplanes.
>Imagine taller skyscrapers.

There's a very sick joke in there about what happens when an irresistable force meets an immovable object, and I'm going straight to hell for even hinting at it.

Re:Imagine bycicles made of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7285468)

Haha! Thanks for the hint.

Re:Imagine bycicles made of this (2, Funny)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 10 years ago | (#7286518)

Get real. This is Slashdot. Watch us imagine a Beowulf cluster of the stuff. :)

Re:Imagine bycicles made of this (1)

Mr Europe (657225) | more than 10 years ago | (#7288499)

And imagine the price of that bicycle! Oh boy it would be stolen in seconds; with a saw which has super hard teeth.

Re:Imagine bycicles made of this (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 10 years ago | (#7289218)

Yes, that is indeed excellent. If humanity has one problem, it certainly is HOW DO WE KEEP THE CRAP WE MAKE FROM EVER GOING AWAY.

Re:Imagine bycicles made of this (1)

linoleo (718385) | more than 10 years ago | (#7289518)

Imagine taller skyscrapers.

Current limitations on skyscraper heights are economic, not structural. Heights of several miles could be reached with current construction technology.

- nic

AT LAST! (2, Funny)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284023)

I now have a response to all those people who called me a pencil-dick!

Re:AT LAST! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7284060)

hahahahahahah!! PENCIL DICK! what a loser.... PENCIL DICK

Re:AT LAST! (1)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284160)

"hahahahahahah!! PENCIL DICK! what a loser.... PENCIL DICK"

Bet you can't say "My dick gets harder than diamond man!"

Re:AT LAST! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7284484)

Whats a "Diamond Man"? hehe

Re:AT LAST! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#7286729)

I now have a response to all those people who called me a pencil-dick!

Yeah, but is "needle-dick" much better?

Actually... (1)

Gleng (537516) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284164)

I heard that in certain Eastern European countries, diamonds were mightier than pencil lead.

Pencil Lead (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7284307)

<pendatic>Pencil lead isn't lead or graphite. It's (usually) a mixture of graphite and clay. So pencil lead wouldn't work in this process.</pendatic>

Re:Pencil Lead (3, Funny)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284733)

<pedantic> It's spelled p e d a n t i c, you nitwit! </pedantic>

Re:Pencil Lead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7294669)

Actually 9B pencil lead is pure graphite.

Cool!! (3, Funny)

chriso11 (254041) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284490)

Now I can get some mechanical pencil lead that won't break all the time. Or even smudge!

Re:Cool!! (1)

Catskul (323619) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284671)

...Interestingly enough, most people want thier pencil to smudge (onto the paper). Have fun writing with your harder than diamond pencil buddy.

Re:Cool!! (1)

chriso11 (254041) | more than 10 years ago | (#7285784)

Interestingly enough, one would almost infer that from my original post...

Re:Cool!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7290056)

or even write!

Sure, it may be hard... (4, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284583)

The article tells very little about the strength of the compressed graphite crystals.

Are they just "hard", and able to pass any scratch test thrown at them, or are they "strong", and able to support heavy loads(such as a space elevator!?).

Either way, the manufacturing process being used is only able to produce small samples, and is very similar to the process used to create artificial diamonds (from the text of the article, it appears that the process is the same, but with a few steps added in)

Diamonds may be hard, but have very little 'real' use, and aren't exactly strong. We have already proven our ability to (at great expense) manufacture synthetic diamonds, but have yet to find many useful applications for them (other than sawblades, etc...). In addition, it is very difficult (physically impossible) to make them into useful shapes without cutting them into very small pieces and using a bonding agent due to their crystaline structure.

Either way, this should prove to be interesting. I could definitely see this replacing diamonds in industrial applications. In addition, the graphite which forms these new crystals is much harder AND much stronger than the coal used to form diamonds. I wonder if the new substance is thermally conductive....... it certianly could be!

Re:Sure, it may be hard... (2, Informative)

Lost Canadian Abroad (178362) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284828)

I beg to differ, the original story pointed to by this slashdot [slashdot.org] artical tells of a couple of fairly (relative) cheap means of mass producing diamonds as well as giving them just about any shape possible, from one of the methods. Thus giving us almost unlimited possibilites for uses in computing and other applications.

Maybe as the technology for growing diamonds becomes more precise and readily available, more usable quanities of this dense graphite material could be produced.

Re:Sure, it may be hard... (1)

balloonhead (589759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7289400)

I thought we were meant to be making our deceased loved ones into diamonds? I see no emotional attachment to an old pencil.

Re:Sure, it may be hard... (1)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 10 years ago | (#7294231)

Yeah, but think about it: you could say, "Yeah, Grandma's three years dead, but she's still really sharp!"

Re:Sure, it may be hard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7284847)

Hardness is a combination of elasticity (or stiffness), and strength. The property you're looking for is toughness.

Re:Sure, it may be hard... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7285367)

The only reason diamonds are not useful today is that they are expensive to produce (and limited, mostly artificially, in their availability) and expensive to reshape. If we could make much larger structures out of diamond cheaply, it would be quite useful, and used somewhat ubiquitously.

Re:Sure, it may be hard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7285469)

Yet diamond isn't tough. Toughness, not strength, determines what a good structural material is.

Re:Sure, it may be hard... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7285500)

Items which are strong but not tough also have their purposes. I'm not saying it's a universally useful material (as double diamond might be) but that we would be using it all over the place if it were cheaper and easier to work with.

Re:Sure, it may be hard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7285641)

We have already proven our ability to (at great expense) manufacture synthetic diamonds, but have yet to find many useful applications for them (other than sawblades, etc...).

You're forgetting the most important use of synthetic diamonds: giving them to women to facilitate getting laid!

Re:Sure, it may be hard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7289588)

Diamonds do have "real" use. They're used on the tips of drill-bits when drilling for oil.

Imagine the possibilities... (1)

oren (78897) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284738)

We could make H1000 pencils that would write on *anything*. All we need now is for someone to create an eraser to match :-)

Re:Imagine the possibilities... (1)

Tharsis (7591) | more than 10 years ago | (#7289062)

I think it would be more accurate to say it would write on *nothing*. Or are you strong enough to put that much pressure on one pencil?

Re:Imagine the possibilities... (1)

joto (134244) | more than 10 years ago | (#7289632)

It would certainly write on most things. Paper being one of the exceptions (as it would tear it apart). But writing on e.g. most metals by scratching a ridge in the surface is certainly possible.

Re:Imagine the possibilities... (1)

1DarkZen (25693) | more than 10 years ago | (#7294498)

Be a bitch trying to sharpen it.

Coming soon to a infomercial near you (1)

V_IL_Len (313878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284873)

Viagra the little Graphite diamond? Diamonds for her and grahpite for him.

Absolute Rubbish Reporting (4, Interesting)

JohnPM (163131) | more than 10 years ago | (#7285163)

Upon first glance at that story one could point out a handful of blatantly false statements that the 'journalist' had embellished upon the presumed press release. To start with, the caption on the bizzare first image ignored atomic carbon (carbon black), nanotubes and the veritable zoo of non-C60 fullerenes.

Secondly the x-rays were not used to form the substance, but to analyse its structure. Hardness is not measured by an ability to crack, it's an ability to scratch. I could crack a diamond with a metal hammer, it doesn't make it harder.

The experimenter neatly summarises the novelty with "This experiment is the first to determine quantitatively how the bonding in graphite changes under high-pressure conditions.". But the article completely ignores what this new bonding is. These are not difficult diagrams. Diamond and graphite are simple to draw, where's the new one?

The summaries in the other stories crowding this one on the page are equally laughable. Anyone can see in the diagram of C60 that it doesn't have 60 sides. In fact if anyone can understand any of the images on the page then you're doing pretty well.

Finally, you've got to love this gem at the bottom:
"AD SPACE FOR SALE
THIS POSITION $4,000/YEAR
FOR 200x60 PIXEL BANNER
More Ad Rates".

Walk, don't run kids!

Answers to your questions (4, Informative)

siskbc (598067) | more than 10 years ago | (#7285437)

Upon first glance at that story one could point out a handful of blatantly false statements that the 'journalist' had embellished upon the presumed press release. To start with, the caption on the bizzare first image ignored atomic carbon (carbon black), nanotubes and the veritable zoo of non-C60 fullerenes.

Yeah, that aggravated me too. Actually, even chemists consider buckys to be a third allotrope as carbon. As a chemist, I consider it bullshit for the same reason you mention. For what it's worth, Carbon-black is not pure carbon - it's a misture of large polynuclear hydrocarbons. It's graphite-like, but does contain hydrogen.

These are not difficult diagrams. Diamond and graphite are simple to draw, where's the new one?

I was annoyed by the same - fortunately, my school has a subscription to Science. Graphite, of course, is a planar, sp2 hybridized structure that forms layers of sheets. The sheets are staggered by half a ring, so that half of the carbons are centered over another carbon, and half are centered over the middle of a ring. Under high enough pressure, the carbons that are right over each other form a sigma bond. According to the article, this happens gradually over a range of like 10-20 GPa, with theoretically half the carbons ultimately forming interplane sigma bonds if one considered a two-plane system.

Unfortunately, even the Science article was stingy on the details (as they tend to be).

Re:Answers to your questions (0)

JohnPM (163131) | more than 10 years ago | (#7288598)

Cool, thanks for the info.

Re:Answers to your questions (1)

RetsamYthgimla (458392) | more than 10 years ago | (#7288742)

The article at spacedaily.com did not mention if the substance maintained its "superhard" form after the pressure was released. I got the impression that it was hard while under pressure, but would revert (slowly, quickly?) after the pressure is released.

Did the Science article shed any light on this? Does it maintain its hardness? If not, what's the decay rate? Is it directly tied to the release of pressure, etc.?

Re:Answers to your questions (1)

GusCubed (619933) | more than 10 years ago | (#7288756)

Yup, as soon as I read the first line of this article I felt my gorge rising - bad science reporting AGAIN.

My understanding from school chemistry was that the c-c sp2 bonds in graphite were stronger than the c-c sp3 bonds in diamond (well shorter at least). The difference in hardness is due to the fact that the c-c sp2 bonds in graphite are only in one plane, and the sheets of carbon atoms are only losely bonded together. The reason why diamind is so much harder is that the tetrahedral arrangement of the sp3 bonds means that diamond is very hard in all directions whereas forces applied to graphite simply cause the very strong sheets of atoms to slide over each other.

Now, if you could somehow roll the graphite sheets into a tube, why they would have enormous tensile strength - I wonder why no-one else has thought of this? You could possible build a space elevator out of them, if you could make them long enough...

Re:Answers to your questions (1)

Kynde (324134) | more than 10 years ago | (#7298447)

My understanding from school chemistry was that the c-c sp2 bonds in graphite were stronger than the c-c sp3 bonds in diamond (well shorter at least). The difference in hardness is due to the fact that the c-c sp2 bonds in graphite are only in one plane, and the sheets of carbon atoms are only losely bonded together. The reason why diamind is so much harder is that the tetrahedral arrangement of the sp3 bonds means that diamond is very hard in all directions whereas forces applied to graphite simply cause the very strong sheets of atoms to slide over each other.

As a singular bond the sp2 is stronger, but what you mustn't forget that there are also 25% of those bonds in graphite. Granted that graphite suffers from it's sheeted structure, but even amorphous carbon that's made of both sp2 and sp3 bonds in a non continious structure isn't as hard as diamond, it's indeed fairly hard, enough to warrant a dlc (diamon like carbon) name in the industry, but still not quite as hard diamond.

Point being that bond density, if you please, also plays a role in hardness, not just the strength of some particular bond.

Re:Absolute Rubbish Reporting (2, Informative)

omega_cubed (219519) | more than 10 years ago | (#7287340)

The picture is actually correct, for the C-60. The C-60 bucky ball IS shaped like a soccerball. It doesn't have 60 sides. It has 60 carbon atoms. The soccerball (a truncated icosahedron) has 12 pentagons on it whose vertices accounts for all the vertices of the solid.

W

Re:Absolute Rubbish Reporting (1)

JohnPM (163131) | more than 10 years ago | (#7288568)

I know all this. Like I said, the caption was wrong. Yours would make a better caption, yes.

Re:Absolute Rubbish Reporting (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | more than 10 years ago | (#7292608)

"Hardness is not measured by an ability to crack, it's an ability to scratch. I could crack a diamond with a metal hammer, it doesn't make it harder"

Absolutely right! In fact here's a common hardness scale for minerals:
  1. Talc
  2. Gypsum
  3. Calcite
  4. Flourite
  5. Apatite
  6. Orthoclase
  7. Quartz
  8. Topaz
  9. Corrundum
  10. Diamond
For comparison:
Finger Nail is 2.5
Steel knife is 5.5
Glass is just less than 6

Glass is harder than steel, but I sure wouldn't want to build a car out of it. Diamonds are very hard, but they are very brittle.

Re:Absolute Rubbish Reporting (1)

Kynde (324134) | more than 10 years ago | (#7298427)

The experimenter neatly summarises the novelty with "This experiment is the first to determine quantitatively how the bonding in graphite changes under high-pressure conditions.". But the article completely ignores what this new bonding is. These are not difficult diagrams. Diamond and graphite are simple to draw, where's the new one?

My thoughts exactly. Having done some structural analysis for amorphous carbon myself I can't help but think that that's what they have there, i.e. amorphous carbon of some degree.

Those of you that are unfamiliar with amorphous carbon (also called dlc, diamon like carbon, in the corporation sector) it's a form of carbon where there are both graphite and diamon bonds in some ratio, i.e. chaotic structure where some carbons have three neighbors and some have four. It's commonly being growed on metals to give them a hard surface.

My hunch is that they managed to create some diamond bonding to graphite by using mere pressure, which is interesting, but nothing to jump on walls about.

Also the stuff about cracking and hardness, well I think that was just journalist hype...

Yes, but is it stable at normal pressures? (1)

Old_Gray_Bear (718223) | more than 10 years ago | (#7285299)

And if it is, can I make it into armor for my tank?

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Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7285344)

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...Maybe I'm not reading the replies right.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7285452)

But it seems like a lot of people think that this graphite would actually be able to write, when it would cut through the desk, let alone the paper..

Great just what we need. (1)

Holi (250190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7287398)

A substance thats harder then diamond and even more useless.
So now my pencils will break even faster. (harder usually equals more brittle not less).

Ahh I remember my youth, when I took a diamond earring and put it under my desk leg at school, sat down and presto, diamond dust.

Weird things you think of when the fever gets going.

Re:Great just what we need. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7292182)

I know it's cool to think diamonds are useless because of the anti-DeBeers sentiment around here, but diamonds are actually used in industry.

eg. cutting, polishing, manufacturing of some tools.

extra boost? a little harder ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7290724)

maybe a extra 30 tesla boost/shock just after they
irradiated the electrons in the graphit to a
soup might ... i dunno ... squeeze them a bit
tighter together?

Pretty useless article (1)

Caractacus Potts (74726) | more than 10 years ago | (#7293576)

Why is it labeled "nano-tech"?

Cracking diamond is no big deal. Does it scratch it too?

Dorks. A hard form of graphite will not be used as a structural component.

No mention of hardness measurements (Mohs, Rockwell, Knoop).

Sorry for the rant, bad science reporting irks me.
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