Diamond Unit Cell (Crystal Structure of Diamond and How It Is Formed)


Due to its diamond structure, it is a very valuable substance that attracts people’s attention in all matters. In addition to being used as jewelry, it is used extensively in piercing works in industries.

Diamond is a substance formed by the crystallization of pure carbon atoms. Diamonds are formed by crystallization layer by layer on top of the tetrahedral core structure. We can compare this to the structure of an onion or the formation of a tree turtle. This formation causes growth lines to form within the diamonds. As a result of the diamonds being cut, parallel growth lines may appear. Rough diamonds are generally found in nature in the form of octahedrons.

Diamond is the hardest known substance found in nature. Diamond, one of the two naturally occurring forms of carbon, gives a three-dimensional crystal structure in which atoms are bonded by strong chemical bonds. Graphite, another naturally occurring form of carbon, is quite soft, unlike diamonds. Because there are no strong chemical bonds between two-dimensional carbon layers. Because diamonds are very hard, they have been used for centuries for jewelry making (25%) and industry (75%).



To understand the chemical structure of a diamond, we need to know the carbon atom at a basic level. A neutral carbon (C) atom contains 6 protons, 6 neutrons, and 6 electrons.

The electronic configuration of the neutral carbon atom is 1s22s22p2. We see that the 2p orbital is missing 4 in the sequence. So carbon needs 4 electrons to complete itself. When it makes a covalent bond, carbon binds to 4 atoms.

Diamond consists of a series of carbon covalently bonded to each other in four ways. In other words, the element that makes up the structure of diamond is the element carbon. Each atom is in a solid tetrahedral network equidistant from the carbon atoms next to them. The diamond unit cell is composed of 8 atoms. All of them are arranged in a cube that is rigid and highly stable. This feature explains perfectly the reason behind why the diamond is hard and its melting point is very high.



What Is a Diamond?


A completely pure diamond appears colorless. Structural defects and other impurities cause the diamond to appear colored. For example, nitrogen causes a diamond to be yellow or brown and boron gray-blue. Permanent distortions in the shape are the source of the pink or red color. The most common diamond in nature is a colorless diamond made of pure carbon. This is followed by yellow, brown, and blue diamonds. The red diamond is known as the rarest type of diamond.

Natural diamonds are formed over the centuries by the addition of individual atoms to the crystal structure. It is also possible to synthesize diamonds by chemical processes. With the chemical vapor deposition technique, 400 milligrams of the diamond can be obtained in a day.



How Is A Diamond Formed?


It is thought that diamond, whose existence dates back billions of years, was formed by movements taking place in the earth’s crust. Diamond is mined mostly in South Africa and India in the world. In many regions of the world, diamond stone extraction, which is thought to be scattered, continues. A certain temperature and pressure are required for the diamond stone to form. The place of formation of this stone is under the earth’s crust, close to the core. When a diamond is found, it is processed with special techniques.

Diamond is formed under a certain temperature and pressure. The place of its occurrence is the depth below the earth’s core. It is thought that the diamond originated from earthquakes and volcanic movements in the earth’s crust. It is also known to be mixed with river sand in some areas. There are places where ore rocks and diamonds spread below the ground. The ore extracted from mud and sandy water first floats in the dense liquid and then the heavy minerals on its surface settle to the bottom. The sandy and muddy mixture is then vibrated and the diamond is set aside.

While 1/3 of the diamond is used as jewelry, the rest is used in the industry. Since it has a very hard structure, it can scratch and pierce other minerals. In this way, it has become more usable in the industry over time. In addition to this feature, it is one of the most popular jewelry items that reflect shine, hardness, and light.



Scientists think that all of the world’s commercial diamond deposits were formed in the mantle and covered by deep-source volcanic eruptions. These explosions produce kimberlite and lamproite chimneys followed by diamond seekers.

Many of these chimneys do not contain diamonds or contain very few diamonds that would qualify for commercial interest. However, open mines and underground mines are built in such chimneys if they contain enough diamonds to make a profit. Some of these chimneys also contain diamonds that are broken by the effect of weather and wear.

Very high temperature and pressure values ​​are required for the formation of natural diamonds. These conditions are seen in limited regions of the earth’s mantle. The temperature can be around 1050 ° C, 150 km or less below the surface. The critical temperature-pressure environment required for diamond formation and stability does not exist worldwide. Originally it is thought that the fixed interiors of the continental crust are located in the underlying mantle.



Diamond Unit Cell


When we take a quick look around, most of the substances that catch our eye are solids. The solid-state of matter and its general properties have been explained in the lessons we have seen before. In fact, solids are roughly classified as ionic solids, molecular solids, covalent solids, and metallic solids, using particles at lattice points in a general framework.

Generally, the observed physical structures of solids can be examined in two main groups. These are amorphous solids and crystalline solids. Amorphous solids are solids that are composed of random particles of various sizes and do not have a certain regular structure. Crystal solids, on the other hand, are solids that consist of atoms, ions, or molecules and have a highly ordered structure.

Covalent solids are gigantic solids with covalently bonded atoms at their lattice points, where each atom, also called a meshwork or atomic crystal, is bonded together. The diamond crystal, in which each carbon is linked by four covalent bonds, is the best example.



What Element Is Diamond Made Of?


  • Diamond is one of the hardest mines in the world. It contains modifications of the diamond carbon element, which is very materially high.
  • When the French chemist Lavoisier burned the apple, he saw that the gas was released as carbon dioxide, and based on this, he realized that it was pure carbon.
  • The most prominent feature of a diamond that can melt at 3547 degrees Celsius is its hardness. The hardness level is 10 and this rate is the highest.
  • Another curious issue is to answer the question of how to make a diamond from coal. The chemical structure of coal and diamond is the same, the first stop of carbon atoms from coal to diamond is coal.
  • Lower temperatures and less pressure are sufficient for coal production. Coal can turn into diamond under high pressures of 50,000 atmospheres.

General Features of Diamond


Hardness


Diamond is the hardest known metal in the world, taking the value 10 in the Mohs Hardness Scale, which classifies the hardness degrees of minerals, from 1 to 10. The mines with 3 in this scale are listed in such a way that they can draw the mines that are at the lower level. Mines at a lower level cannot draw the higher ones.



Density


The density of the diamond is approximately 3.5 g / cm3. Density, which is the distinguishing feature of materials, also shows its effect on the diamond and provides a calculation opportunity to distinguish it from similar ones. For example, while it is difficult to distinguish the stones obtained as a result of processing cubic zirconia (5.5 g / cm3) from a diamond with the naked eye, a simple mathematical result can be distinguished from diamond cubic zircon by using volume and density values.

Refractive index


The diamond mine has a high refractive index. As light travels in all environments except space, it is exposed to a certain resistance depending on the type of environment. This resistance causes light to create various optical phenomena (reflection, refraction, diffusion). The refractive index value of the diamond takes values ​​in the range of 2.4175-2.4178 according to the wavelength of the light passing through it. Substances slow down the light passing through them thanks to their refractive indices. Thanks to its high refractive index in diamonds, it slows down the light considerably. Paying attention to the apparent occurrence of optical phenomena related to the refractive index during the processing of the diamond, processing (cutting) forms are preferred accordingly. While explaining the dispersion of the diamond, which is a cut form of diamond, more information will be given on this subject.



Diamond is used as jewelry, but also as a tool for cutting glasses and other stones. One of the derivatives of the element carbon is graphite and the other is diamond. It was first discovered by the French chemist Lavoisier that diamond is pure carbon. Lavoisier burned the diamond and saw that the combustion gas was only carbon dioxide, and concluded that the diamond was carbon. Diamond is resistant to high temperatures, but you can melt it at 3547 degrees.

As mentioned, the most prominent feature of a diamond is its hardness. It is indicated with the highest number (10) in the “Mohs hardness indicator” used in mineralogy. This means that it can scratch all other minerals. One diamond can only cut another diamond, and the diamond is not affected by acid. Due to its hardness, its use in industrial tools has gained great importance.

In addition, it is a precious jewelry item due to its durability and its ability to refract the light very well. Since diamond is a precious metal, artificial diamonds have been produced for industrial use, but it is easy to understand whether the diamond is artificial or not. Artificial diamond has no value as jewelry, therefore a certificate must be requested when buying diamonds.

Carat is used as a unit of measure for weighing diamond (1 carat equals 200 milligrams). Karat is an English word. It is “Kırat” in Arabic and the meaning of “Kırat” is carob seed. Since the weights of these beans were the same, they were used in the size of weights less than 1 gram. The weight of 1 carat has been accepted as 0,200 gr.

The properties of the diamond give it the feature of beauty and precious jewelry. Its ability to refract light is very high, that is, the beam it accepts inside is more than the beam it reflects. Likewise, the ability to divide the beam into white light colors is also very high. When you look at the real diamond you can see the 7 colors of the rainbow.



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Savaş Ateş

My wife has a huge interest in diamonds. After she asked me a lot of questions about it, I found myself in diamonds. I made a lot of research on it. I read books. I visited manufacturers. I visited the stores. I have made good friends in that field. I want to share my experiences with you.

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