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Fracture Protection: Nanotubes toughen up ceramics

Ceramics are famous for being hard but easy to break. Now, researchers have demonstrated that adding carbon nanotubes to a ceramic material can nearly triple its resistance to fracturing.

Since carbon nanotubes were discovered a decade ago, ceramics researchers have tried to exploit the tiny tubes' extraordinary strength and flexibility to make much more fracture-resistant materials.

Such durable materials could eventually replace conventional ceramics or even metals in countless products, says Joshua D. Kuntz of the University of California, Davis.

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