Do you know what the strongest material on Earth is? You probably guessed diamond right? Well, in some sense you are right. It is commonly referred to as the hardest natural substance on Earth. But, as with most things, this answer is vastly over simplified. First, hardness (and strength) is not a single property. Materials can be very strong in one way but not another. Some resist scratching better while others can absorb force better. And then there are new synthetic materials that combine many of these properties. So let’s get to it, these are the 25 strongest materials known to man!
This is the classic. Of course, keep in mind that in this case hardness refers to “scratch resistance”. In the Mohs scale (a qualitative scale that measures the resistance of various minerals) a diamond comes in at a 10 (the scale goes from 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest). A diamond is so hard, that other diamonds have to be used to cut it.
Darwin bark spiders’ silk
Often referred to as the toughest biological substance in the world (though this claim is now being contested by another biological material), the Darwin bark spider’s web is stronger than steel and tougher than kevlar. Equally as remarkable is it’s weight. A strand long enough to encircle the Earth’s diameter would only weigh half a kilogram.
This synthetic foam is one of the lightest structural materials in the world. It’s about 75 times lighter than styrofoam (but a lot stronger!). This material can be compressed to a 30th of its original size without any damage to its structure. Another way of looking at it: aerographite can carry up to 40,000 times its own weight.
Palladium microalloy glass
Developed by scientists in California, this substance has almost the perfect combination of toughness and strength. The reason for this is that its chemical structure counteracts the brittleness of glass but still maintains its strength.
Tungsten carbide is incredibly hard and has really good yield strength, but it’s quite brittle when it is bent or smashed.
Featured Image: pixabay (public domain)
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