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Perfect Atomic Structure

  1. Mar 2, 2008 #1
    Dear experts - I'm writing a novel in my spare time, and would appreciate some help with a little bit of research. Some of the story is set in the distant future, where super strong materials are available. My problem is that I don’t know how to describe these super materials. I want to describe the strongest possible atomic configuration of carbon, in a solid three-dimensional structure. Like diamond, but if possible stronger. Does this material already exist in theory? What colour and transparency is this material likely to have? Would it resemble metal? What would this material logically be called?

    If you can answer any of these queries, or even make a semi-educated guess, I'd be very grateful indeed.

    Thanks for your time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 2, 2008 #2
    Transparent aluminium? :rofl:

    Just kidding, it had to make me think of this :biggrin:

    Edit: However, you may want to consider this article. Making your path through wikipedia, you may come across something useful. T.A.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2008
  4. Mar 2, 2008 #3


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    i guess it depends on what you mean by strong.
  5. Mar 2, 2008 #4


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    Well, I did finally find out the plot of Minority Report, from that link :rofl:
  6. Mar 2, 2008 #5
    Very funny. Transparent aluminium indeed. I mean strong as in tough, resistant to breaking, stuff you'd want to make a crash helmet out of. Like diamond but less brittle. I'm guessing there is a perfect configuration of carbon atoms that would give the stongest bond possible. Like the carbon nanotubes that scientists are theorising about making the space elevator from. But in this case configured to form a matrix or mesh that's suitable for constructing solid objects.
  7. Mar 2, 2008 #6


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    carbon nanotubes are not just theoretical. they have been created in labs. there is no "perfect configuration".
  8. Mar 2, 2008 #7
    Yes there is, you just don't know what it is.
  9. Mar 2, 2008 #8
    There must be an optimum atomic structure for strength.
  10. Mar 2, 2008 #9


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    good luck with that
  11. Mar 2, 2008 #10

    Claude Bile

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    Super-strong materials in the future are likely to come from engineered meta-materials (like carbon fibre) rather than some exotic, undiscovered atomic or molecular arrangement.

    The reason why there is no optimum structure for "strength" is because it is not a one-dimensional metric. Materials can be resistant to cracking, deforming, twisting, tearing, dissolving, corroding, shearing (cutting) and so on....each of these could be construed as a form of material "strength".

    There is no evidence to suggest there is a "holy grail" of atomic configuration that is the "best" in terms of material strength.

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