Scientists uncover 'strongest material in universe', and name it nuclear pasta

Scientists have uncovered what they are calling "the strongest known material in the universe" and have named it "nuclear pasta". The material is so intense it could never exist on Earth-if somehow a tiny amount were transported here, it would explode like a nuclear bomb. As those stars rotate (and neutron stars can rotate extremely quickly), those raised lumps could theoretically create ripples in the surrounding space-time - also known as gravitational waves. The enormous gravity makes the outer layer of the neutron star freeze solid, similar to how Earth's thin crust envelops a liquid core. In the aftermath of a supernova, the outer layers of the star are stripped, exposing a dense core that collapses inward, forming a neutron star. They are typically about 20 kilometers in diameter and have incredibly high temperatures. According to a 2007 NASA blog post, a sugar cube's worth of matter would weigh more than 1 billion tons inside a neutron star - roughly the weight of Mount Everest.

Their huge gravity makes their outer layers freeze solid, making them similar to Earth with a thin crust enveloping a liquid core. Underneath the crust, powerful forces roil between the neutrons and protons inside the neutron star's matter, causing the material to take on some surprising shapes, like long cylinders and flat planes.

In the computer simulation, the researchers assessed the power that must be expended to stretch the nuclear pasta. A neutron star is one of a few different outcomes for a star that's reached the late stages of its life, the others being a black hole and a white dwarf. They are formed only when matter is under such pressure of gravity, which is only possible for neutron stars.

According to scientists, "nuclear pasta" is 10 billion times stronger than steel.

The density of nuclear pasta makes it 10 times stronger than steel.

The findings could help astrophysicists better understand gravitational waves like those detected past year when two neutron stars collided.

"Our results are valuable for astronomers who study neutron stars".

"The strength of the neutron star crust, especially the bottom of the crust, is relevant to a large number of astrophysics problems, but isn't well understood", said lead author Dr. Matthew Caplan, a postdoctoral researcher at McGill University.

Understanding the strength of nuclear pasta will help astronomers studying neutron stars to better understand their physical properties-allowing them to test out theories and models.

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