Diamonds

Diamond is an allotrope of carbon arranged in a crystal structure forming lattices. It comes in a form of

- natural diamond, or
- synthetic diamond.

According to scientific studies, the formation of natural diamond came as a result of carbon gas exposure to high temperatures and extremely high pressures, converting it in liquid carbon. The liquid carbon then got gradually cooled and became crystallized under conditions unknown. Diamonds have been pulled up to the upper layers of Earth’s crust by volcanic eruptions, so the largest natural diamond resources can be found in the South part of Africa, then in Australia and the South America. Diamonds have been used as jewelry since antic times.

Synthetic (artificial) diamonds are produced by a special method. The aim of this method is to expose the prepared material, graphite and catalysts, to high temperature and pressure, converting them in another allotropic form (crystal form) in order to get diamonds. The process is done in special, quite small pressurized containers under high temperature. For catalysts we usually take nickel, chrome, cobalt and other materials.

Comparing the natural and the synthetic diamond kernel, we can conclude that the surface and shape of the synthetic diamond is more suitable for production of diamond tools, as it has a larger number of blades, which is very important, especially for some diamond tools.

Scientist Bridgman set up a theoretic base of transforming graphite into diamond already in 1947, while the first synthetic diamond was produced by General Electric Co in 1955.

Main physical characteristics of diamonds are:

- High hardness (the hardest mineral on Mohs scale of mineral hardness, having a hardness of 10 on this scale),
- High restistance to fatigue (wearing out),
- High sensitivity to temperature changes and shocks,
- Good thermal conductivity,
- Low electric conductivity.

Besides diamonds, for some diamond tools we also use cubic boron nitride.

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