December 13, 2022

Scientists Unveil Toughest Material on the Planet

Science is never a straightforward field of study. If you ask what the strongest material is, you’ll get more questions in response such as “Hardness?”, “Tensile strength?”, or simply “Do you mean toughness?” However, a team of researchers can answer the latter question confidently.

A collaboration between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has led to the discovery of a high entropy alloy (HEA) made of chromium, cobalt and nickel (CrCoNi). The substance is resistant to permanent deformation, but has major ductile properties that can be shaped easily. Both of these traits are indicative of toughness, making it the most tough material on Earth.

The Californian LBNL and Tennessean ORNL crew released a statement on 2 December elaborating on their findings: in short, the alloy gets tougher as it gets colder, and it doesn’t have to compromise on being ductile and fracture-resistant – something even the mightiest diamond struggles with.

The research is a decade in the making, but its possible uses certainly light up the imagination. However, due to the cost involved with creating the HEA, the best real-world use right now is for extreme environments such as deep space or deep sea exploration.