Monday, 16 Feb, 2009 Science

Scientists Discover Substance Harder than Diamond


For many years diamond has been considered the hardest material. Then it gave the first place to man-made nanomaterials that proved to be somewhat harder than the diamond. Recently researchers discovered a natural substance that is 58 percent tougher than diamond.

Together with his team Zicheng Pan at Shanghai Jiao Tong University analyzed two substances and noticed that the structure of wurtzite boron nitride is similar to that of diamond, but is composed of different atoms, while the mineral lonsdaleite, is composed of carbon atoms.

It is worth mentioning that diamond is made up of carbon atoms as well, but mineral lonsdaleite's atoms are arranged in a different shape.

Scientists simulated how the two substances withstand stress. They found that wurtzide boron nitride was able to withstand 18% more stress than diamond, while lonsdaleite 58% more. In case the same results will be registered with physical experiments, the two materials will prove to be much harder than any other substance.

The two substances are very rare in nature: lonsdaleite sometimes appears when meteorites containing graphite reach Earth and wurtzite boron nitride appears as a result of volcanic eruptions that generate extremely high temperatures and pressures, reports New Scientist .

If the physical experiments will show that wurtzite boron nitride is indeed harder than diamond it may replace the diamond, being more stable in oxygen at higher temperatures.

The features of the substance would allow placing the wurtzite boron nitride on the tips of cutting and drilling devices that operate at high temperatures. Besides wurtzite boron nitride could be used in making corrosion resistant films that are mounted on the surface of a space vehicle.

Powered by


38 votes

//8 Aug 13, 2010 11:24 AM | posted by: Unknown
i cant believe people are commenting on this
36 votes

//7 Aug 13, 2010 06:27 AM | posted by: martin
id make a huge battleship out of it
33 votes

//6 Aug 12, 2010 10:50 PM | posted by: ug
''bullet proof material'' is the best name.
37 votes

//5 Jun 19, 2009 08:40 PM | posted by: sombodi
Probably people won't use it in daily life, but, as the article says, it can be used in e.g. mining.
40 votes

//4 Mar 20, 2009 12:08 PM | posted by: muniraj
it's good............ is there any drawbacks in this.........
38 votes

//3 Feb 20, 2009 09:18 AM | posted by: cath_tama29
what is the use of those materials in our daily living?. What will be the role of these two new-found materials in the lives of people?

I hope someone could answer my queries.
36 votes

//2 Feb 17, 2009 11:27 AM | posted by: alcotrazz [InfoMANIAC]
what is it going to be good for? i mean where will those minerals be applied? in disassembly of things?
33 votes

//1 Feb 16, 2009 07:04 PM | posted by: Elise
how sweet

Add your comment:

antispam code





Discover, share, comment and discuss with us on a variety of interesting stories. A lot of fascinating things are taking place every day around the globe and we welcome you to this world.