Carbon can be found in many places around us, and certainly in us, so some may think it is not that special of an element. They would be very wrong as materials such as graphene, a two-dimensional, pure carbon structure, have extraordinary properties that could revolutionize many technologies. Now researchers at Rice University have determined some properties for another allotrope of carbon, including its world-record tensile strength.
Called carbyne, it is a one dimensional carbon structure, as the carbon atoms either share double bonds or alternating single and triple bonds with each other. It was first theorized over a hundred years ago and first synthesized in 1960, but only now has a complete mechanical picture of it been made. According to this study, it should have double the tensile strength and stiffness of graphene and carbon nanotubes, stretching it changes its band gap, and twisting it alters the band gap so much it can become a magnetic semiconductor. Perhaps most its most important property though is its stability. Contrary to prior literature, the new research indicates that at room temperature, carbyne chains will not collapse into graphite or soot upon contact, but will just connect at a single spot.
As impressive and potentially useful as these properties may be, there is no means to mass produce carbyne at this time. Of course, now that we can start to think of ways to use it, that may change.
Source: Rice University