How are Diamonds Made

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How are Diamonds Made

What is a Diamond?

Diamonds are typically formed deep beneath the earth’s surface. They are made up of pure carbon which has been placed under immense pressure for millions of years. The intense heat produced due to this pressure hardens the carbon. Natural diamonds are rare to find and are very expensive.

Fortunately, we no longer have to wait for such a long time to set our hands on diamonds. Diamonds created by man are much faster to produce and of remarkably good quality. A layman would find it difficult to distinguish between a natural diamond and an artificial one. (Tips on how to test if diamonds are real)

How Diamonds Are Created – Naturally and Manmade

You would be amazed at the fact that diamonds are made from the same substance that the lead in your pencil or coal is made up of. The only difference is that atoms are arranged more tightly in a diamond, which makes them harder. This bond is formed when carbon is exposed to extreme temperatures and very high pressure. Rare diamonds of high value develop deep underground: more than 100 miles below the surface.

The temperature 100 miles below the earth’s surface is between 1100 degrees and 1400 degrees Celsius and the pressure of rocks formed by layers is high enough for diamonds to form. Besides carbon, other gases like nitrogen and substances like sulfur are trapped inside the crystal. These substances are responsible for giving diamonds their color. Under normal circumstances, diamonds are colorless, although green, pink and orange diamonds also exist.

Most of the carbon comes from the mantle of the earth and some from the bodies of shells and other micro-organisms like algae. Most of the carbon is buried in rocks that are dragged down into the mantle due to continental drifts.

So, if it is because of natural reasons that diamonds are made, how is it possible to make diamonds artificially? Creating a material that is as hard as diamond has had been the aim of many scientists. These scientists have been successful in creating gems harder than any other crystal from a gas mixture.

The crystals are successfully grown using a high growth-rate chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process. In order to allow the crystals to grow, the following measures are taken:

Step One

The crystals are placed in a chamber and are subjected to high pressure and high temperature to harden them.

Step Two

Gases like hydrogen and methane are then bombarded with charged particles, or plasma, in a chamber.

Step Three

The plasma generates a chemical reaction that brings about the occurrence of “carbon rain", which falls on a seed in the chamber.

Step Four

After this rain comes in contact with the seed of the carbon, atoms start arranging themselves in the same structure as the seed.

By adopting the above method, diamonds can be made to grow up to 10 millimeters across and 4.5 millimeters in thickness.

How Diamonds are Made Images

 

Comments

  1. nody said,

    on December 7th, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Nice topic. i will use it in the science club.