Nuclear Pasta is 10 billion times harder than steel, reveals study

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Neutron Star (Representational Image)
Neutron Star (Representational Image)

New Delhi : Researchers from the institutions in the U.S and Canada have found proof that nuclear pasta beneath the surface of neutrons stars is the strongest material in the universe. The findings have been published in the journal Physical Review Letters. 

Earlier a research has indicated that when stars reach a certain age, they explode and collapse into a mass of neutrons and hence named as neutron star. Also, it has been found that the surface of such stars is so dense that the material would be incredibly strong. In this new effort, the researchers report evidence suggesting that the material just below the surface is even stronger.

According to Astrophysicists, neutron star settles into its new configuration. The densely packed neutrons are pushed and pulled in different ways, resulting in formation of various shapes below the surface. 

Many of the neutrons take the names of pasta because of the similarities. Some have been named gnocchi, for example, others spaghetti or lasagna. Caplan, Schneider and Horowitz wondered about the density of these formations

The findings showed that the nuclear pasta is indeed, stronger than the material on the crust. The simulations also showed that such formations are likely the strongest material in the entire universe. They showed, for example, that they are 10 billion times stronger than steel. But that is not the end of the story. The simulations also backed up another theory that suggests neutron stars could be generating ripples in the fabric of space-time due to their strong gravitational pull. The theorized rippling effect is due to the irregular formation of the nuclear pasta. This means that neutron stars could be emitting gravitational waves that could someday be observed by super-sensitive equipment here on Earth.