Diamond is the hardest material
Diamonds are much harder than steel and granite, but they are not nature’s most robust material.
Diamond has long been known to be the world’s hardest material, but the sparkling mineral is now only No. 4 or perhaps ranks even lower. In 2005, German scientists produced a much harder material consisting of densely packed, tiny carbon rods. Four years later,
HARD MATERIALS PACK ATOMS DENSELY
The difference between diamond and lonsdaleite is solely in the shape of the crystals' 3D grid. Both materials consist of carbon, and all atoms have powerful bindings to their cloesest neighbours in the grid. Chinese scientists studied two natural minerals, wurtzite boron nitride and lonsdaleite and calculated that they were 1.18 and 1.58 times harder than diamond, respectively.
Lonsdaleite primarily exists in meteor craters, as extreme pressure is required to produce the mineral; a pressure that can only occur by Earth’s surface in case of a meteor strike.
Diamond: The carbon atoms are located in a powerful, cube-shaped crystal structure. BINDINGS ARE ANGLED D I F F E R E N T LY. Lonsdaleite: The carbon atoms are located in layers with a very powerful, hexagonal, crystal structure.