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New Polymeric Materials
September 14, 2014 16:45


The experts of several Russian research centres have found a way of creating polymeric materials with hardness significantly higher than that of a diamond.

The results of this work published in the Carbon journal can become a basis of a new direction in materials science. The researchers from the Technological Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials in Troitsk (TISNCM), Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys and Moscow State University have developed a new method for the synthesis of an ultrahard carbon material – fullerite - which is now number one material in the list of the hardest materials.

From a practical point of view this solid form of carbon is interesting primarily for the specialists engaged in processing of metals and other materials. Fullerites consist of C60 fullerenes - carbon molecules in the shape of spheres formed by 60 atoms. These spheres contained in fullerene can come in different “packages”, and the hardness of the material is strongly depends on the way they are interconnected. Fullerite opened by Russian scientists contains C60 molecules connected with each other in all directions: scientists call this material a three-dimensional polymer.

However, there are still no methods of obtaining this promising material on an industrial scale, since it requires very high pressure of at least 130 thousand atmospheres which is not possible to achieve with modern technology. The present work shows the way this difficulty can be overcome. To achieve this you must add carbon disulfide to the initial mixture of reactants, this substance acts as a catalyst in the synthesis of fullerite. It turned out that with the addition of carbon disulfide the formation of the ultrahard material may be achieved at a lower pressure, 80,000 atmospheres, and moreover, at room temperature.

The discovery described in the article creates a new direction in the field of materials, for it significantly reduces the synthesis pressure and makes it possible to produce fullerite and its derivatives on an industrial scale, as the leading study author, the head of the Laboratory of Functional Nanomaterials in TISNCM Mikhail Popov explained, according to the press service of MIPT. 

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Russian science     

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