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New Allotrope of Carbon Discovered

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 08:19AM

Carbon is an amazing element in part because it can form so many materials with various properties, including graphite, diamond, fullerenes, nanotubes, and graphene. Since its discovery, graphene has been of particular interest for its mechanical and electrical properties. Now a new allotrope of carbon modelled by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University may steal away some of that interest.

Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal structure, like chicken wire. What the Virginia researchers have theorized is a pentagonal structure, which is why they call the new material penta-graphene. According to their predictions, the new material would be very stable, very strong, and survive temperatures up to 1000 K. It would also have the curious property that if you stretch it in one direction, it will expand in the perpendicular direction as well, instead of contracting. Perhaps most interesting is that it will be a semiconductor and not a conductor, like graphene is.

Sadly all of the work so far is theoretical and based on computer models, so a means of fabricating it must be discovered to test any of it. Once that is achieved though, you can bet a lot of people will be exploring penta-graphene's various applications.

Source: Virginia Commonwealth University

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