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They make a diamond more rigid than natural diamonds

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Researchers want to reproduce artificial diamonds with the same hardness and stiffness properties as natural diamonds, if not more. An American team recently said they got a stone that might be suitable.

Stiffer hexagonal diamonds

Jewelers appreciate and use natural diamonds for their beauty, but also for their purity. For physicists, the interest lies rather in the hardness and rigidity of the stone. In a publication in Physical examination B on March 8, 2021, researchers at Washington State University (USA) claim to have made hexagonal diamonds stiffer than cubic diamonds usual that are found in nature. However, this is a great first, although it must be put into perspective.

Previously, some meteorite impact sites had found hexagonal diamonds. Others had been manufactured in the laboratory. In contrast, these same diamonds were too small for physicists to validate their properties. As part of their work, US researchers were able to evaluate the properties of a diamond when they were made. They then used sound waves, the latter progressing more slowly in a more rigid material.

Their artificial diamond was made from small discs of graphite propelled over a transparent material at a speed of nearly 25,000 km / h. The impact produced shock waves transforming into diamonds.

On the left, the cubic structure of a natural diamond. On the right, the hexagonal structure of an artificial diamond.
Credits: Anton, Mstroeck / Wikimedia Commons

Immediately produced, immediately destroyed

Physicists then did not perform an exact measurement of the hardness of the diamond obtained. They could only make an extrapolation. The point is that more rigid materials, i.e. resistant to deformation (or pressure) are also harder. They are also more resistant to scratches and other surface deformations. However, there is still a long way to go for the scientists behind this research. Now, they want to succeed in manufacturing in diamonds of the same type without these being destroyed by the process that gave birth to them.

Each process took place in several billionths of a second or nanoseconds, but the researchers were able to take the stiffness measurements before the high-speed impact destroyed the diamond.“, Can we read in a statement relating these works.

For researchers, the applications of this innovation are drilling, machining and possibly adornment of jewelry.


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