Researchers from The City University of New York (CUNY) have found a way to create extremely strong and impenetrable layered-sheet of graphene. It is harder than diamond and can even stop a bullet on impact.
Researchers have revealed that two layers of graphene can temporarily be transformed into a diamond-like material at room temperature. When placed one on top of another, the flexible and lightweight, layered sheet of graphene becomes hard enough to withstand a speeding bullet. The findings could have implications for creating lightweight bulletproof shields that can protect law enforcement from gunfire.
“This is the thinnest film with the stiffness and hardness of diamond ever created.” Lead researcher Elisa Riedo from Advanced Science Research Center at CUNY said in a statement.
Scientists already know that graphene sheets are tough and resilient due to their dense one atom structure. But they have not been tested too much as a material for protection. In this latest effort, the researchers did just that, but only through computer simulations.
“Previously, when we tested graphite or a single atomic layer of graphene, we would apply pressure and feel a very soft film. But when the graphite film was exactly two-layers thick, all of a sudden we realized that the material under pressure was becoming extremely hard and as stiff, or stiffer, than bulk diamond.” Professor Elisa Riedo said.
With the help of atomistic computer simulations, researchers applied pressure on two honeycomb layers of graphene to see how they respond under different circumstances. They found that graphite-diamond transition does not occur for more than two layers or for a single graphene layer.
"Graphite and diamonds are both made entirely of carbon, but the atoms are arranged differently in each material, giving them distinct properties such as hardness, flexibility and electrical conduction," said coresearcher Angelo Bongiorno from CUNY College "Our new technique allows us to manipulate graphite so that it can take on the beneficial properties of a diamond under specific conditions."
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