Superior wear resistance of aggregated diamond nanorods

Nano Lett. 2006 Apr;6(4):824-6. doi: 10.1021/nl0602084.


The hardness of single-crystal diamond is superior to all other known materials, but its performance as a superabrasive is limited because of its low wear resistance. This is the consequence of diamond's low thermal stability (it graphitizes at elevated temperature), low fracture toughness (it tends to cleave preferentially along the octahedral (111) crystal plains), and large directional effect in polishing (some directions appear to be "soft", i.e., easy to abrade, because diamond is anisotropic in many of its physical properties). Here we report the results of measurements of mechanical properties (hardness, fracture toughness, and Young's modulus) of aggregated diamond nanorods (ADNRs) synthesized as a bulk sample. Our investigation has shown that this nanocrystalline material has the fracture toughness 11.1 +/- 1.2 MPa.m(0.5), which exceeds that of natural and synthetic diamond (that varies from 3.4 to 5.0 MPa.m(0.5)) by 2-3 times. At the same time, having a hardness and Young's modulus comparable to that of natural diamond and suppressed because of the random orientation of nanorods "soft" directions, ADNR samples show the enhancement of wear resistance up to 300% in comparison with commercially available polycrystalline diamonds (PCDs). This makes ADNRs extremely prospective materials for applications as superabrasives.

MeSH terms

  • Compressive Strength
  • Diamond / chemistry*
  • Hardness
  • Hardness Tests
  • Materials Testing
  • Nanotubes / chemistry*
  • Nanotubes / ultrastructure*
  • Particle Size
  • Surface Properties


  • Diamond