Graphene, first discovered in 2004, is “miracle material” made by stripping graphite into single layers of atoms. With its amazing uses, scientists has been becoming more and more creative in utilizing this to create useful technologies.
Now, a body armor may just be one of them.
Scientists Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at The City University of New York have created a new material called diamene with this. They used two layers of graphene (each one-atom thick) to make a diamond-like material when contacted with certain pressure at room temperature. A material with tin-foil-like flexibility but hard enough to stop a bullet. Plus, it's water resistant!
"This is the thinnest film with the stiffness and hardness of diamond ever created," said Elisa Riedo, professor of physics at the ASRC and the project's lead researcher, in a statement. "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."
Diamene is soft and bendable until hit with an impact, then it becomes much stiffer. What's interesting is that there's a fixed number of layer of graphene needed to make it work: two. Any more or less wouldn't lead to such graphene-diamond transition.
"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 Angelo Bongiorno from CUNY, part of the research team. "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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