Nano-sized diamond thread may be a super-strong wonder material

Move over, graphene -- you're not the only miracle material in town. Australian researchers have discovered that diamond nanothreads (one-dimensional diamond crystals capped with hydrogen) could be extremely strong. While scientists thought they were brittle when announced just a month ago, it turns out that they become supremely flexible (and thus durable) when you introduce the right kinds of defects. You could create nanoscopic structures that are just as strong as you need them to be, with a 'perfect' mix of bendy and rigid shapes.

The nanothreads have only been tested in simulations so far. So long as their behavior translates well to the real world, though, they could have all kinds of uses. Gizmodo suggests that they should be useful for supporting a space elevator, which would need incredible strength to reach tens of thousands of miles above the Earth. However, they could also be relevant anywhere that a supremely sturdy yet thin material is practical -- many places, in other words. If there's any substance to the claims, don't be alarmed if these diamond strands (and the surrounding hype) show up everywhere.

[Image credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF]