A team of scientists at Advanced Science Research Centre (ASRC) at the City University of New York developed a bullet-proof suit material with graphene that becomes harder than diamond when hit by a fast moving or heavy object.
Researchers from the university made layeed sheets of graphene to create a material that has this unique property. The team has put the property to use in making a bullet-proof suit that becomes a diamond plate on wearer's body when a bullet touches it.
The material, which is thinner than aluminium foil has been named diamene, which can switch immediately on impact. The material can stop even the fastest, most powerful bullets immediately.
''This is the thinnest film with the stiffness and hardness of diamond ever created,'' says Elisa Riedo, professor of physics at the ASRC and the project's lead researcher in a press release on the ASRC website. ''Previously, when we tested graphite or a single atomic layer of graphene, we would apply pressure and feel a very soft film. But when the graphite film was exactly two-layers thick, all of a sudden we realized that the material under pressure was becoming extremely hard and as stiff, or stiffer, than bulk diamond.''
Using atomic force microscopy the researchers deformed sheets of graphene grown on plates of silicon carbide and tested changes in their mechanical and electrical properties.
The team further demonstrated that the addition of more layers does not turn it into an even tougher sheet, quite the opposite. The remarkable property works only when graphene is arranged in just two layers.
"Graphite and diamonds are both made entirely of carbon, but the atoms are arranged differently in each material, giving them distinct properties such as hardness, flexibility and electrical conduction," says chemist Angelo Bongiorno, who also worked on the research.
"Our new technique allows us to manipulate graphite so that it can take on the beneficial properties of a diamond under specific conditions."