November 21, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

Diamonds Made in Minutes Without Heat

Researchers manufactured diamonds in minutes at room temperature, using shear stresses.

We created diamonds in mere minutes, without heat — by mimicking the force of an asteroid collision (The Conversation). Does it take millions of years for diamonds to form deep underground? Not necessarily. An asteroid impact has the power to make instant diamonds. Mimicking that kind of force, Jodie Bradby and Dougall McCulloch created diamonds in minutes.

In nature, diamonds form deep in the Earth over billions of years. This process requires environments with exceptionally high pressure and temperatures exceeding 1,000℃.

Our international team has created two different types of diamond at room temperature — and in a matter of minutes. It’s the first time diamonds have successfully been produced in a lab without added heat.

Engineers have been making industrial-grade diamonds for years, but they had to apply great heat and pressure. This new technique does it quickly without adding heat.

Nature has provided hints of other ways to form diamond, including during the violent impact of meteorites on Earth, as well as in processes such as high-speed asteroid collisions in our solar system – creating what we call “extraterrestrial diamonds”.

Scientists have been trying to understand exactly how impact or extraterrestrial diamonds form. There is some evidence that, in addition to high temperatures and pressures, sliding forces (also known as “shear” forces) could play an important role in triggering their formation.

When they applied extreme shear forces onto small chips of graphite-like carbon (“the equivalent of 640 African elephants on the tip of one ballet shoe!”), they produced regular diamonds and an alternate form called Lonsdaleite. These were visible under the microscope.

The structure’s arrangement is reminiscent of “shear banding” observed in other materials, wherein a narrow area experiences intense, localised strain. This suggest shear forces were key to the formation of these diamonds at room temperature.

The team believes this opens up useful applications. “The ability to make diamonds at room temperature, in a matter of minutes, opens up numerous manufacturing possibilities.”

Creationists have pointed to rapid ways of getting minerals long thought to take millions or billions of years: opals, petrified wood, stalactites, and now diamonds. Always question the moyboy assertions. They tend to come from lazy reporters quoting boilerplate.

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Categories: Amazing Facts, Geology, Physics

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