Featured Image for ‘Nuclear pasta’ could be the strongest material in the universe
Science

‘Nuclear pasta’ could be the strongest material in the universe

Don’t worry, you’re not living in the sequel to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs; Nuclear Pasta is actually a real thing, and it’s im-pasta-bly strong.

Researchers from the US and Canada are set to publish a study in the journal Physical Review Letters, in which they determined the strength of “nuclear pasta” as a result of a simulation.

To boil it down for you, most of us know that when stars reach a certain age, they explode, collapsing into a mass of neutrons and becoming incredibly dense – due to the lack of neutrinos.

The densely packed neutrons are stretched and spun in different directions, creating a variety of shapes below the surface of the neutron star. This process and the resulting variety of shapes has led scientists to name the material below the surface “nuclear pasta”.

Diagrams illustrating the different types of so-called nuclear pasta. (Credit: Caplan & Horowitz/arXiv)

Diagrams illustrating the different types of so-called nuclear pasta. (Credit: Caplan & Horowitz/arXiv)

In the past(a), researchers have found the surface of a collapsed star to be extremely strong due to its density. However, the surface doesn’t compare to the material that lies below the surface, which is so strong it would take 10 billion times the force required to shatter steel to gnocchi-t down.

“[That] may make nuclear pasta the strongest material in the known universe,” reads the study.

Alfredo you haven’t quite grasped how dense this material might be? Well, to give you an idea of just how dense a neutron star is, they contain the density of an entire sun within their 12-mile diameter.

For real.

And that isn’t all: if the nuclear pasta grows any stronger, it could create layers which would form small “mountains” in the neutron star’s crust. When those stars rotate, the layers could create ripples in the surrounding space-time.

Via Live Science

Leave a comment