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What is the Strongest Material on the Planet?



Humans are pretty good at making things that last. Just look at the remnants of ancient civilizations like the Greeks and Romans, and you’ll really begin to appreciate human ingenuity. As we get better at making and using technology, our abilities are only becoming more impressive. But when it comes to pure strength, and not just durability, what tops the list? What, out of all the planet’s materials, is the strongest? Here’s a look:



1. Let’s define strength.
Labelling something as the strongest material is pointless if we don’t even know exactly what strength is a measure of. Put simply, strength is defined as how much force or pressure something can take before it breaks. So, the strongest material on the planet should be capable of withstanding a great deal of directly-applied force in order to qualify.

2. Graphene is undoubtedly the strongest - for now.
The vast majority agree that graphene is the strongest material on earth. It’s not something that’s naturally occuring, though. Graphene is made from carbon and is formed in a hexagonal lattice that is just one atom thick. This makes it, in addition to being the strongest, the thinnest material we know of.

However, there’s a relative newcomer that might knock graphene off its pedestal. Carbyne has long been theorized to be an incredibly strong material, but it had never been created in a stable form. At least, not until 2016. The reason carbyne doesn’t make the top of the list just yet is because we don’t have enough of it to really be significant. The future possibilities, however, are tantalizing.



3. As far as biological substances go, spider silk wins.
Of course, both graphene and carbyne are man-made. We’ve figured out how to manipulate atoms to create these things. What about natural substances? You might be tempted to point to diamonds as the strongest, while in reality their claim to fame is their hardness and even then they’re not the hardest material on earth. In terms of strength, spider silk is the strongest biological substance. It’s lightweight yet effective, coming in at 50 times stronger than Kevlar.
 
Jan 27, 2020
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In World War II, black widow silk was used for the cross hairs in US Army sniper scopes. In 2012, Japanese researcher Shigeyoshi Osaki made spider silk violin strings. The same year, the Victoria and Albert Museum in England proudly displayed the largest garment made from spider silk, but it took one million spiders and four years to make. Dr. Randy Lewis' lab at Utah State University studies spider silk and is bioengineering bacteria to produce spider silk in large fermentation tanks. One of Dr. Lewis' ideas is the manufacture of automobile airbags and bumpers from this synthetic spider silk. Although we have come a long way from 'Charlotte's Web' by E.B. White, the spider's silk and webs are still items of awe and wonder for all ages.
 
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Dec 26, 2019
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Well the way it is going things are getting cheaper and cheaper made and don't last long at all. Look how easy our buildings fall down and burn up. It seems to me they made things that last longer in the past. I mean the Pyramids are still standing. I doubt any of our buildings will last even a quarter as long as the pyramids.
 
Jan 27, 2020
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Having built some $300 million worth of new construction in Boston, MA, I don't think anybody in the architectural/construction trades erects a building to last 1,000 years. The loss of our cultural heritage wasn't due to its cheapness in a monetary sense. The primary reason for the disappearance of major previous construction, as far as I can see, would be urban renewal and planned city expansion, technological change and resulting obsolescence and loss due to land purchase, new construction and development. I've only read of one 20th century architect who designed buildings with a view to their appearance in the far future - Albert Speer in Germany, who designed and built some colossal architecture in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He prepared detailed drawings of their appearance a thousand years in the future and used granite and marble to insure their longevity. I have walked his works in Nürnberg and they are impressive in size, as are some of his other work. But only those few totalitarian governments can assign the 20,000 or so workers necessary to complete such works. On the other hand, Stalin had the White Sea Canal built with zek labor only equipped with hand tools in 1933, and only one vessel ever traversed it - a special barge with an extremely shallow draft built for Stalin and his inspection party. The canal was called the Road of Bones by its survivors.
When it comes to fire, the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) reports, between 1977 and 2018, total fires in the US declined from 3,264,500 to 1,318,500, a 40% drop. Structure fires, in the same time period, have declined from 1,098,000 to 499,000, a 45% drop. All the foregoing is a result of improved building materials, more frequent building inspections, improved firefighting tools and methods, and the application of more stringent building codes, particularly in life safety. All in all, while fire calls are on the wane, the impetus for fire departments to handle medical calls has put increased pressure on FD's to handle this critical aspect of community medical support in lieu of once popular private ambulance companies.
 
Jan 24, 2020
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Humans are pretty good at making things that last. Just look at the remnants of ancient civilizations like the Greeks and Romans, and you’ll really begin to appreciate human ingenuity. As we get better at making and using technology, our abilities are only becoming more impressive. But when it comes to pure strength, and not just durability, what tops the list? What, out of all the planet’s materials, is the strongest? Here’s a look:



1. Let’s define strength.
Labelling something as the strongest material is pointless if we don’t even know exactly what strength is a measure of. Put simply, strength is defined as how much force or pressure something can take before it breaks. So, the strongest material on the planet should be capable of withstanding a great deal of directly-applied force in order to qualify.

2. Graphene is undoubtedly the strongest - for now.
The vast majority agree that graphene is the strongest material on earth. It’s not something that’s naturally occuring, though. Graphene is made from carbon and is formed in a hexagonal lattice that is just one atom thick. This makes it, in addition to being the strongest, the thinnest material we know of.

However, there’s a relative newcomer that might knock graphene off its pedestal. Carbyne has long been theorized to be an incredibly strong material, but it had never been created in a stable form. At least, not until 2016. The reason carbyne doesn’t make the top of the list just yet is because we don’t have enough of it to really be significant. The future possibilities, however, are tantalizing.



3. As far as biological substances go, spider silk wins.
Of course, both graphene and carbyne are man-made. We’ve figured out how to manipulate atoms to create these things. What about natural substances? You might be tempted to point to diamonds as the strongest, while in reality their claim to fame is their hardness and even then they’re not the hardest material on earth. In terms of strength, spider silk is the strongest biological substance. It’s lightweight yet effective, coming in at 50 times stronger than Kevlar.
I always thought diamonds are they were the hardest, most durable, and strength. Am I wrong? I am amazed at the forms of carbon there is.
 

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