Diamond is considered the hardest natural material, but it can become flexible when grown in extremely thin, needle-like shape.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have found these diamond needles about a thousand times thinner than a hair strand – up to nine percent can be bent and stretched without breaking. The needles can return to their original state as soon as the pressure is removed.
Diamonds are usually found in large quantities and can only stretch below one percent. If we try to bend them beyond that limit, they can break. However, researchers have found that diamond needles can be deformed by applying pressure. Previously, however, they were able to compress diamonds.
"We have developed a unique nanomechanical approach to precisely control and quantify the ultragrouble elastic strains distributed in the nanodiamond samples." Co-author Yang Lu of the Chinese University of Hong Kong
The researchers used a diamond probe to pressurize the sides of the diamond nanopipes, which were bred and measured by a special process called chemical vapor deposition strong every needle could bend. Using a scanning electron microscope, the researchers recorded the entire process in real time. They also performed hundreds of computer simulations to understand and explain how the diamond needles were subjected to large elastic strains.
"Our results were so surprising that we had to repeat the experiments under different conditions to confirm simulations of the actual samples and bending experiments to measure and determine the maximum tensile stress and strain that the diamond nanopipes could withstand before they break, "said Prof. Subra Suresh of NTU Singapore.
"This work also shows what is. On the macroscopic and microscopic scale, it is usually not possible to appear at the nanoscale where the entire sample consists of dozens or hundreds of atoms and the surface to volume ratio is large." Researchers believe that this technique is possible is used to develop a variety of devices related to drug delivery, capture, storage and activation.