Carbyne – what do we have here?

This is truly interesting.  As reported in the paper Carbyne from first principles: Chain of C atoms, a nanorod or a nanorope? (and if I’m reading the paper correctly), the specific strength of Carbyne is on the order of 75 MYuris, well within the range needed to build an earth-based space elevator.

However, there does appear to be at least one fly in the ointment – material stability.  It seems that if you have more than one strand of Carbyne that contacts another one, cross-links will form and will degrade the material’s strength.  Money quote from the article; “…This barrier suggests the viability of carbyne in condensed phase at room temperature on the order of days…”  So, maybe not quite there yet.

I did a little net-sleuthing and found a short article/comment (Carbyne and other myths about carbon) by Dr. Harry Kroto, a co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel prize in Chemistry.  It is almost 3 years old and in it, he also raises the issue of material stability (to put it mildly).

Carbyne from first principles… has five authors.  Three of them (Dr. Boris Yakobson, Vasilii Artyukhov and Mingjie Liu) are also the authors of a paper in the current issue (Vol 2 / No 1) of CLIMB.  They also presented a paper at the 2011 Space Elevator conference which won an Honorable Mention in the Artsutanov competition.

I will be corresponding with these authors (and, hopefully, Dr. Kroto) over the next several days and will report back on what additional information I can glean – stay tuned!

(Hat Tip: Andy Price & Michael Fischer)

One thought on “Carbyne – what do we have here?

  1. stephens

    have you look at this recently, it seems to be catching PR ; I believe because they (airforce) have run strength computer simulations. Although they do mention about the reactive problem they do not seem to be concerned as much? surely this would cross the strength threshold need for space elevator

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