Nanoscale Diamond Needles Discovered to be Bendable and Stretchable


diamonds/ Photo By Sorawat Charoensukvipad via 123RF


The diamond is the strongest naturally occurring material that possesses several properties such as high heat conductivity and high chemical resistance, making it a desirable component in products. However, diamonds lack elasticity and bending or stretching it would result in breakage. But scientists at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology managed to figure out how to bend this strong material.

Elasticity in Diamonds Finally Unlocked

Apart from jewelry, diamonds are used in a variety of industries including manufacturing and electronics. Products like cutters, drillers, and grinders can be equipped with diamonds to penetrate rocks or land surfaces. Other products like electronic devices use diamonds for their thermal conductivity. Despite amazing properties, diamonds fail to bend or stretch without suffering from breakage.

Scientists at UNIST have found a workaround and unveiled the elasticity in diamonds. In the study, the scientists discovered that nanoscale diamond needles have a certain degree of elasticity. The tiny materials could bend, flex, and stretch by up to nine percent without cracking. The nanoscale diamonds could also return to their original shape after bending. This phenomenon is impossible in bulk diamonds due to their below one percent elasticity.

“Diamonds, either natural or artificial, have internal defects in their crystal structure. When outside force is applied to these defects, they can crack and eventually break,” explained Professor Feng Ding at UNIST.

The team studied the diamond needles and determine their maximum local stress of the materials. Analysis showed that the casual diamond needles can be stretched by up to 9 percent, but diamonds without defects can be stretched by up to 12 percent before breaking.

They concluded that nano-sized diamonds could be improved to be used for multiple applications, such as bioimaging, nanomechanical resonators, and data storage. The materials could even be applied in flexible and foldable screen displays.