"Nuclear pasta" ranked strongest material in the universe

They successfully ran the largest computer simulations ever conducted of neutron star crusts, becoming the first to describe how these break. As the densely-packed neutrons in the star are squeezed and pushed in different directions they take on a range of shapes as you travel deeper into the star, which scientists have long compared to different types of pasta. If such landforms neutron stars do exist - sooner or later, astrophysicists will be able to capture gravitational waves from these celestial objects.

The calculations showed that because of the "neutron and paste" on the surface of a neutron star can be formed by the hills with a height of a few centimeters. What emerges is a star that has around double the mass of the Sun crammed into a 20km-wide sphere.

An global team of researchers from McGill University, California Institute of Technology and Indiana University has calculated the strength of nuclear pasta - extremely dense material deep inside the crust of neutron stars. These have become known as "spaghetti" and "lasagne"-or nuclear pasta".

The strongest material in the known universe is a unusual form of pasta - it's not campanelle, gnocchi, or penne, but rather an esoteric-like concoction called nuclear pasta, which is formed by the ungodly pressure found inside a neutron star.

Much of nuclear pasta's strength likely comes from its density.

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Because of the tremendous forces of gravity the star's outer layers forms a thin crust (with a thickness of 1 km) that surrounds the liquid core.

"But if somehow a teaspoon of nuclear pasta magically teleported into the palm of your hand you'd die instantly because without the pressure of the star to hold it together it would explode like a nuclear bomb. Their outer layer is the part we actually observe, so we need to understand that in order to interpret astronomical observations of these stars", Caplan added.

"Our results are valuable for astronomers who study neutron stars". In fact, lone neutron stars may produce their own weak gravitational waves by creating rigid "mountains" in the crust, according to research that was accepted for publication in August 2018 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

"A lot of interesting physics is going on here under extreme conditions and so understanding the physical properties of a neutron star is a way for scientists to test their theories and models", said Caplan. They believe that neutron stars' crust could provide most detailed information astronomers may ever know about these odd stars. "We also deform nuclear pasta that is arranged into many domains, similar to what is known for the ions in neutron star crusts".

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