Global Analysis of the Mechanical Properties of Organic Crystals

Durga Prasad Karothu, Jad Mahmoud Halabi, Ejaz Ahmed, Rodrigo Ferreira, Peter R. Spackman, Mark A. Spackman, Panče Naumov

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Organic crystals, although widely studied, have not been considered nascent candidate materials in engineering design. Here we summarize the mechanical properties of organic crystals that have been reported over the past three decades, and we establish a global mechanical property profile that can be used to predict and identify mechanically robust organic crystals. Being composed of light elements, organic crystals populate a narrow region in the mechanical property–density space between soft, disordered organic materials and stiff, ordered materials. Two subsets of extraordinarily stiff and hard organic crystalline materials were identified and rationalized by the normalized number density, strength, and directionality of their intermolecular interactions. We conclude that future lightweight, soft, all-organic components in devices should capitalize on the greatest asset of organic single crystals—namely, the combination of long-range structural order and softness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere202113988
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • mechanical properties
  • nanoindentation
  • organic crystals
  • soft materials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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