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April 15th, 2010
Graphene may be the world's strongest material. But put it under enough strain and it simply evaporates into thin air, says a new study of the way graphene breaks.
One important property of any material is its ideal strength: the force per unit area that the stuff can withstand in the absence of any instabilities in its structure. This may sound like an easy thing to measure but it is anything but. Almost all materials are riddled with instabilities such as grain boundaries and dislocations and it is these that give up the ghost, long before the material itself fails.
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