Compressed glassy carbon: An ultrastrong and elastic interpenetrating graphene network

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Science Advances  09 Jun 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 6, e1603213
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603213


Carbon’s unique ability to have both sp2 and sp3 bonding states gives rise to a range of physical attributes, including excellent mechanical and electrical properties. We show that a series of lightweight, ultrastrong, hard, elastic, and conductive carbons are recovered after compressing sp2-hybridized glassy carbon at various temperatures. Compression induces the local buckling of graphene sheets through sp3 nodes to form interpenetrating graphene networks with long-range disorder and short-range order on the nanometer scale. The compressed glassy carbons have extraordinary specific compressive strengths—more than two times that of commonly used ceramics—and simultaneously exhibit robust elastic recovery in response to local deformations. This type of carbon is an optimal ultralight, ultrastrong material for a wide range of multifunctional applications, and the synthesis methodology demonstrates potential to access entirely new metastable materials with exceptional properties.

  • Compressed glassy carbon
  • Interpenetrating graphene network
  • Specific compressive strength
  • Hardness
  • Elastic recovery
  • Density
  • Conductivity
  • thermal stability

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