Researchers have created a new material that’s as pliable as tin foil, but hard enough to stop a bullet upon impact. The new material — called “diamene” — has many potential uses, such as waterproof coatings or lightweight bulletproof armor.
The study, led by the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), demonstrated how two, one-atom thick layers of graphene could display diamond-like properties upon impact.
Remarkably, graphite and diamond are both made of carbon, but the atoms are organized differently. This gives them distinct properties in terms of hardness, flexibility and electrical conductivity. The ASRC research team’s new technique allowed it manipulate graphite in such a way that it took on the beneficial properties of a diamond, like its hardness.
First, computer simulations were used to test the theory. Then, theory was put into practice using an atomic force microscope to apply pressure to two layers of graphene. The graphene to diamond-like hardness transformation only occurred with exactly two layers of graphene. A greater or lesser amount of layers did not achieve the same result.