The Sceptical Chymist | Who’s the hardest of them all?


A chemistry paper in Science came out yesterday where materials scientists have studied the hardness of rhenium diboride. It is SUPER hard and ULTRA incompressible (my addition of capitals for extra emphasis – I like saying things like ULTRA in a booming voice).

Here’s a news piece I wrote for news@nature. While I was digging around, a number of researchers pointed out that this isn’t a new material. So why do Science want to publish this? It seems that no one had really taken trouble to do detailed measurements on the material before. The researchers (including Sarah Tolbert and Richard Kaner) came at the problem of making a really hard material by working out how to pack enough covalent bonds into a metallic structure and lo and behold, rhenium diboride fitted nicely.

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