On the quest for the strongest materials

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Science  20 Apr 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6386, pp. 264-265
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat5211

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The strength of a material is a measure of its ability to withstand a load without breaking. Scientists in search of the strongest materials have recently turned their attention to nanomaterials, which have few of the defects that typically reduce a material's strength. On page 300 of this issue, Banerjee et al. (1) show that when nanoscale single-crystal diamond needles are elastically deformed, they fail at a maximum local tensile stress of ∼89 to 98 GPa, which is very close to the theoretical limit for this material.