An ultrastrong carbon form with interpetrating graphene networks

Figure: The graphite-like interlayer distances for compressed glassy carbons gradually reduced with the increase of synthesis temperatures. The structure factor S(q) data are unscaled but successively shifted. The insets show Franklin’s model of nongraphitizing carbon, ordered graphite structure with standard interlayer distance of 3.35 Å, and the bulk morphology of recovered sample rods.
Figure: The graphite-like interlayer distances for compressed glassy carbons gradually reduced with the increase of synthesis temperatures. The structure factor S(q) data are unscaled but successively shifted. The insets show Franklin’s model of nongraphitizing carbon, ordered graphite structure with standard interlayer distance of 3.35 Å, and the bulk morphology of recovered sample rods.

Carbon gives rise to remarkable classes of materials with combined properties, such as low weight, high strength, hardness, elasticity, and tunable electronic properties, because of the flexibility to form sp-, sp2-, and sp3-hybridized bonds. A research team succeeded to recover an ultrastrong carbon after compressing glassy carbon at various pressure and temperature conditions.  The newly created glassy carbons are composed of mixed sp2-sp3 hybridized carbons with a low sp3 component, which gives rise to the unique combination of properties.  The compressed glassy carbons have extraordinary compressive strengths and simultaneously exhibit robust elastic recovery in response to local deformations. This type of carbon is an optimal ultralight and ultrastrong material for a wide range of multifunctional applications.   More in Hu et al. (2017), Science Advances, 3: e1603213, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603213.