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Blasting lead with 160 lasers makes it incredibly strong, then explode


Scientist

Blasting lead with 160 lasers makes it incredibly strong, then explode

By Leah Crane The National Ignition Facility laser systemScience History Images / AlamyLead just got an upgrade. When it is quickly compressed with powerful lasers, the typically weak element gets 250 times stronger, making it tougher than hardened steel. The difference between strong and weak materials has to do with how the atoms move against…

Blasting lead with 160 lasers makes it incredibly strong, then explode

By Leah Crane

National Ignition Facility Laser System

The National Ignition Facility laser system

Science History Images / Alamy

Lead just got an upgrade. When it is quickly compressed with powerful lasers, the typically weak element gets 250 times stronger, making it tougher than hardened steel.

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The difference between strong and weak materials has to do with how the atoms move against one another. When the atoms are arranged so that they can slide across each another easily, like they typically are in lead, the material is soft and pliable. When they cannot move around so easily, like in iron, the material is hard and strong.

Andy Krygier …

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