Scientists Found the Toughest Material In The World

Toughest Material In The World

The study, completed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and published in the journal Science, started nearly a decade ago with a distinct metallic combination. They used one that included extra manganese and iron (CrMnFeCoNi), but testing conditions were limited at that time. Amazingly, CrMnFeCoNi withstood liquid nitrogen temperatures, but researchers wanted to push colder because the toughest metal must stand up to the most severe environments.

With advanced technology, the team was able to test CrCoNi at even lower temperatures and found it got even tougher, rather than more brittle, as temperatures dropped.

“The toughness of this material near liquid helium temperatures (20 [degrees] Kelvin, -424 [degrees] Fahrenheit] is as high as 500 megapascals square root meters. In the same units, the toughness of a piece of silicon is one, the aluminum airframe in passenger airplanes is about 35, and the toughness of some of the best steels is around 100. So, 500, it’s a staggering number,” research co-leader Robert Ritchie said in a statement.

CrCoNi is now being developed for different applications, but given the high cost to create it, researchers expect this toughest of materials will get going – maybe into deep space.

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