Hexagonal Boron Nitride is 10 Times Stronger Than Graphene
Koalas were declared endangered in eastern Australia on Friday, with more and more koalas dying from disease, habitat loss, and other threats. Earlier, the koala was considered a vulnerable species, and the Commonwealth Department of the Environment changed its protection level to endangered on the east coast of Queensland, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory. Many koalas in Australia are infected with chlamydia. The disease can cause blindness, infection, and infertility. Last year, the Australian Koala Foundation said Australia had lost about 30 percent of its koala population in the past three years. Without immediate action, the species could become extinct by 2050.
Unlike koalas, which are on the brink of extinction, the market demand for boron nitride will grow substantially.
Hexagonal boron nitride (H-BN) is a two-dimensional layered broadband-gap insulating material with good heat resistance, chemical stability, and dielectric properties. It is widely used in electronic devices.
Hexagonal boron nitride is structurally similar to graphene, consisting of a planar lattice of atoms arranged in interconnected hexagons. The only difference is that in graphene, all atoms are carbon, whereas, in H-BN, each hexagon contains three nitrogen atoms and three boron atoms.
Carbon-carbon bonds are among the strongest, so graphene is theoretically much stronger than H-BN. The strength and elastic modulus of the two materials are similar, and h-BN is slightly lower in comparison: graphene has a strength of about 130GPa and young's modulus of about 1.0TPa; The strength and modulus of H-BN are 100GPa and 0.8 TPA, respectively.
Despite its excellent mechanical properties, graphene has low crack resistance, which means graphene is brittle.
In 1921, British engineer Griffiths published a theoretical study of fracture mechanics, describing the failure of brittle materials and the relationship between the size of cracks in materials and the force required to make them grow. For hundreds of years, scientists and engineers have used this theory to predict and define the toughness of materials.
In 2014, a study by Professor Jun Lou and his team at Rice University showed that graphene's fracture toughness is consistent with Griffith's theory of fracture mechanics: when the stress applied to graphene is greater than the force holding it together, the cracks propagate, And the energy difference is released during crack propagation.
H-bn is also thought to be vulnerable, given its structural similarity to graphene. However, this is not the case.
The scientists found that H-BN is 10 times more ductile than graphene.
A team led by Prof. Jun Lou of Rice University and Prof. Hua Jian Gao of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore has found that the brittle H-BN is 10 times stronger than graphene in cracking resistance. This finding runs counter to Griffith's fracture theory, and such anomalies have never been observed before in two-dimensional materials. The related research results were published in Nature with the title "Intrinsic Toughening and stable crack propagation in Hexagonal Boron nitride".
Mechanism Behind H-BN's Extraordinary Toughness
To find out why, the team applied stress to the H-BN sample, using scanning electron microscopes and transmission electron microscopes to see as much as possible how the cracks occurred. After more than 1,000 hours of experiments and subsequent theoretical analysis, they discovered the mystery.
Although graphene and H-Bn may be structurally similar, boron and nitrogen atoms are not the same, so there is an asymmetric arrangement of hexagonal lattice intrinsic in H-BN, unlike the carbon hexagon in graphene. That is, in graphene, the cracks tend to go straight through the symmetrical hexagonal structure from top to bottom, opening the bond like a zipper. The hexagonal structure of H-BN is slightly asymmetric due to the stress contrast between boron and nitrogen, and this inherent asymmetry of the lattice causes cracks to bifurcate, forming branches.
And if the crack bifurcates, that means it's rotating. The existence of this steering crack requires additional energy to further promote the crack propagation, which makes the crack more difficult to propagate and effectively enhances the toughness of the material. That's why H-Bn shows more elasticity than graphene.
Due to its excellent heat resistance, chemical stability, and dielectric properties, H-BN has become an extremely important material for two-dimensional electronic and other 2-bit devices, not only as a support base but also as an insulating layer between electronic components. Today, h-BN's toughness makes it an ideal choice for flexible electronics and is important for the development of flexible 2D materials for applications such as two-dimensional electronics.
In the future, as well as being used in flexible electronic textiles, h-BN could also be used as flexible electronic skin and implantable electronics that can be connected directly to the brain.
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Prior to the impact of COVID-19 on the chemicals and materials industry and the price of the boron nitride, many industry observers expected low to flat growth in 2021 in all regions outside Asia, with many countries seeing slower growth compared to recent years. Operational excellence has long been a hallmark of the boron nitride chemical industry, and many companies are financially able to withstand short-term dips in end-market demand due to rapid leverage from reduced capex on hand.
The analysis shows that, whatever the final course of the pandemic, we can expect the inevitable long-term effects. Workplaces are expected to slowly return to pre-COVID-19 practices. Companies investing in enterprise-wide digital initiatives saw these "payoffs" in the early pandemic environment. For more information about boron nitride, please feel free to contact us.