Researchers from Columbia University have shown that graphene, even if stitched together from many small crystalline grains, is the strongest material in the world. This experiment brings to a successful conclusion that contradiction between theoretical models, which predicted that grain boundaries can be very strong, and earlier experiments, which suggested that they were a lot weaker than the perfect lattice.

According to CNN, graphene is a one-atom thick layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice. This arrangement gives graphene unique properties. For instance, electrical currents in graphene travel faster than in any other material known to man.

Study leader James Hone, professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia University, notes that the researchers’ first Science paper examined the strength graphene can achieve if it has no defects, but defect-free, pristine graphene exists only in very small areas. Large-area sheets needed for applications must contain numerous small grains connected at grain boundaries.