Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Formation and Color of Diamonds

The article in Chapter 5 from section 5.13 is titled “The formation and Color of Diamonds”. The article explained how diamonds are formed 150-200 kilometers deep in Earth’s mantle from carbon-containing material that is subjected to high temperatures and pressures. The diamonds are taken from the Earth’s mantle along with rock, usually by erupting volcanoes. The article also explains that synthetic diamonds are produced by subjecting carbon-containing substances to very high pressures and temperatures in a molten metal such as nickel or iron. Although the diamond is not real it still crystallizes in the molten metal. This works efficiently because although graphite is stabler than diamond under moderate conditions, diamond is stable even at high temperatures and pressures.
Some new concepts that I did not know before reading this article is that real diamond is colorless. And that any permanent color that a diamond displays is due to impurities that were trapped in the crystal when it was forming. Another concept that I learned is that diamonds do not conduct electricity well, but they are good heat conductors. Finally I learned that experts can distinguish a real diamond from a fake one by placing it on their tongue. The real diamond feels cool like a metal.
I am very surprised as to how it is possible to make synthetic diamonds, and how easy it is for our own body to be able to tell the difference from a fake one. It is almost as if our bodies were designed to be able to distinguish some of the most treasured objects in the world.

Baird Colin, “The Formation and Color of Diamonds” Chemistry in Your Life. Second edition. W.H Freeman and Company, New York.

No comments:

Post a Comment