Diamond, a nonmetallic mineral, melts at 3500 degrees, burns at 850 degrees in the air, and turns into graphite at 1500 degrees in airless conditions. It is associated with carbon and graphite. One of the modifications of carbon is diamond and the other is graphite. It is a crystallized mineral composed of pure carbon. Due to its relationship with carbon, it shows similar properties with coal. It differs from coal according to the way the carbon atoms are arranged. Diamond is much harder than coal and graphite though.
Diamonds that cannot be considered as precious stones are used for various purposes in the industry due to their hardness. They are called high hardness industrial diamonds. They can also be produced synthetically. Apart from Synthetic diamond powder, there are three main types of natural industrial diamonds. These are named ballas, bort, and carbonado. Ballas is a very hard and tough type of diamond. The Bort variety usually includes discolored or misshapen diamonds. The smaller ones are used in diamond drill bits. Black carbonado is used in lathes, glass cutting tools, pickup needles, etc.
Why Diamond Is This Hard?
Diamond is defined as the crystallized pure carbon mineral that occurs in nature. The uniqueness of diamond is entirely due to its mineral structure. Each carbon atom is very regularly and strongly bonded with the other 4 carbon atoms around it. This very simple configuration allows the diamond mineral to grow cubically, to be the hardest substance known in nature, to be durable for billions of years, and to form a perfect, transparent crystal structure because it does not take other substances in it.
Diamond is made up of carbon atoms. The unique crystal structure of the diamond puts it in a much more special status than other precious stones. Diamond is the hardest natural substance known. Although colorless and transparent, it can be found in a variety of colors ranging from pastel to matte black when impurized with other minerals.
The properties of diamond are due to its crystal structure formed by tetrahedral carbon atoms that are completely interlocked. The crystal is formed by arranging carbon atoms that have bonded with each other in a pattern that follows each other. Each of these atoms is bonded to its four nearest neighbors. In this sequence, a carbon atom uses 4 of its 6 electrons to form a bond with another carbon atom.
This 4-electron bond that occurs in diamond is unique to diamond and shows itself as a 3-electron bond in the graphite structure. This is the answer to why diamond is hard and graphite is soft. These bonds are the strongest in the world of chemistry. The exceptional strength of the carbon-carbon bond and its jointly interlocked structure are what make diamonds hard and inert.
Diamonds are minerals, the youngest of which are 1 billion years old. Their formation takes place in environments of high pressure and temperature. For their formation, a pressure of at least 100-150 km below the ground and a temperature of 1000-1500 Celcius are required. They are carried to the earth by large rock masses as a result of volcanic eruptions. There are many more features unique only to diamonds. For example, the alignment feature of the diamond is necessary for a clean and smooth cut.
Since the structure of the diamond is the form of two square-bottomed pyramids, in general, when cutting, the rough diamond is divided into two in accordance with its structure. There are also 12-sided and cubic crystal structures. Although diamond is a valuable jewelry item due to its durability and refraction of light very well, its use in industrial tools has gained great importance due to its hardness.
Diamonds are 300 times harder than a steel file and 750 times harder than a fingernail. A diamond can only be cut by another diamond. According to the scale used in mineralogy and developed by the German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs in 1812, diamond is the hardest among other metals and its hardness degree is shown as 10. Other hardest metals after diamond are listed as corundum (9), topaz (8), and quartz (7).
High Hardness Synthetic Diamond Powder
Instead of real diamonds, artificial diamonds, or in other words, synthetic diamond powder is used especially in industry. Normally, natural diamonds are formed as a result of geological processes. By simulating this process, devices were developed and synthetic diamonds and then synthetic diamond powder were produced. According to the production method, they are divided into two as HPHT diamond and CVD diamond.
Industrial diamonds, which are used in many areas of industry, are preferred especially when the abrasive effect is desired. An article has been prepared for information about diamond powder, diamond powder prices, and production. Although synthetic diamonds are also used in jewelry, their industrial use is very high. It is used in the production of cutting tools, especially for drilling and cutting concrete, granite, marble, natural stone, and artificial stone. With its high hardness, it makes it possible to process these materials.
Diamond is one of the two forms of the element carbon found in nature. Its feature is that the atoms are connected to each other by very strong bonds. Another form of carbon is graphite. Since there is no strong bond in graphite, it is softer and weaker. Diamonds are very hard. It is mostly used in jewelry and industry. In the previous paragraph, we said that devices that simulate and accelerate the natural formation process are developed and industrial diamonds are produced with this method. There are two methods here.
The first method is the High Pressure – High-Temperature method. In fact, when producing diamonds in nature, they form this form because they are exposed to high pressure and high temperature for a long time. Diamond production is carried out by releasing carbon under high pressure and high temperature with special devices developed for this purpose. Yet another method is industrial apple production by a chemical vapor deposition method. There are alternative methods for the production of diamond dust. Here, carbon atoms are deposited using a basic substrate on top of which carbon plasma is placed, forming a diamond.
Most of the synthetic diamonds are used in industry. Especially in the cutting tool industry. The cutting bits used for cutting and drilling materials such as natural stone, granite, marble, artificial stone, and asphalt are synthetic diamond-based. A large number of diamond sockets are placed on the core bit and used to drill concrete by welding.
Powder metallurgy methods are used for the production methods of synthetic diamond cutting tools. Powder metallurgy methods can be sintered by atmosphere-controlled pressureless sintering, vacuum-controlled sintering, hot press, isostatic hot press, and direct sintering methods. Diamond powdered inserts are mostly produced with an atmosphere-controlled sintering technique.
Synthetic diamond inserts are basically produced with a matrix material that acts as a binder. In other words, the diamond powders are held by the matrix and form a cutting tool. Here, raw material is prepared by mixing bronze, copper, iron, binder, and lubricant together with synthetic diamond powder. Cutting tool formation is realized after pressing and sintering. Diamond powder inserts are the world’s best quality and comprehensive synthetic diamond-based inserts.
Diamond dust prices vary according to the quality and size of the products. The dimensions are determined by the sieve system with certain intervals per unit length. This value is called ‘mesh’. The example starts with 20/30 mesh, 30/40 mesh, and goes up to 325/400 mesh. The larger the mesh number, the smaller the diamond dust size. The mesh size of the products is determined by the sieve analysis method.
Properties of Hard Synthetic Diamond Powder
Diamond is one of the strongest known substances in the world, making it popular for industrial purposes. Most mined diamonds and almost all synthetic diamonds are made from diamond dust because they are not bright enough or colorful enough to be as valuable as gemstones. Although powdered diamond is strong, it wears out when used at high speeds on ferrous alloys.
Considered to be one of the strongest substances in the world, diamonds are often thought of as gemstones, but this is often not the way diamonds are used. When diamonds are mined, color, clarity, and brilliance are checked to see if they are as valuable as the stones. Gemstone quality diamonds are professionally cut and polished; the rest is sent to refineries that grind them into diamond powder.
Most naturally mined diamonds – about 80 percent – are used for industrial purposes. Synthetic diamonds that mimic the strength of natural diamonds can be created under conditions of high temperature and high pressure. These synthetic diamonds are largely used to create diamond dust.
Being so strong, one of the biggest uses of diamond dust is in the creation of abrasives. An abrasive is a substance, such as sandpaper, that is rubbed into another material, such as wood, to wear several layers of the second material. This makes the second material smooth or rough, depending on the design of the abrasive.
Another important use of diamond powder is in the creation of tools such as drill bits. To make them, pulverized diamond is usually added to a pool of molten metal and the diamond is diffused into the metal. When metal is formed into a tool, the diamond dust stays in the metal, strengthening it.
While the diamond is strong, dusty diamond working tools are not good when used against ferrous alloys at high speeds. This is because the high velocity creates a reaction between the iron and the carbon in the diamond, thereby making the carbon soluble for iron. As a result, the diamond wears out very quickly, making it difficult to maintain.
Industrial Hardest Diamonds
Diamonds are not only used for jewelry. There are also those used in industry. Unblemished diamonds are used to make jewelry, while dull-looking diamonds are used to make cutting tools. In fact, only ¼ of the diamonds in the world are used to make jewelry. The rest is in the industry. Apart from that, there are synthetic diamonds produced in laboratories. They are also produced for industrial use. Since they are very hard, they have usage areas in many sectors.
In short, diamond is mainly used in jewelry and ornaments in their raw form. It has limited use in industry and industry to take advantage of its hardness. There are three types of diamonds used in industry as ballas, bolt, and carbonado. There are also synthetic diamonds used in both jewelry and industry. Synthetic diamond is produced artificially as a result of various chemical and physical processes.
The most distinctive physical property of a diamond is its hardness. The hardest mineral, diamond, has a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale, which is the mineralogy hardness scale. It cannot be scratched with any tool or stone. A diamond can only be drawn with a diamond. It can even scratch rubies, sapphires, and emeralds with a high degree of hardness. It is of high purity. The mineral with the least number of inclusions that define the carbon stain and traces (inclusions) in it is diamond. These inclusions are common in other hard and precious stones.
These carbon traces are found in real diamonds. Synthetic or rhinestones do not have these marks. Diamond, which is extremely hard and has an octahedral cleaved atomic space, shows fluorescence (radiation) under ultraviolet light. It crystallizes in an isometric system. The crystal system of the diamond is cubic. The crystal form is usually octahedral. It is rarely found in massive crystal form.
The reasons for the use of diamonds in the industry are numerous. Diamond, a nonmetallic mineral, melts at 3500 degrees, burns at 850 degrees in the air, and turns into graphite at 1500 degrees in airless conditions. It is associated with carbon and graphite. One of the modifications of carbon is diamond and the other is graphite. It is a crystallized mineral composed of pure carbon. Due to its relationship with carbon, it shows similar properties with coal. It differs from coal according to the way the carbon atoms are arranged. It forms a carbon tetrafluoride compound with fluorine at 750 degrees. It does not form compounds with other halogens.
Why Diamond Is Hard When Graphite Is Not?
Although graphite and diamond are made up of carbon, graphite is one of the softest materials on earth and diamond is the hardest. Why is this the case? Here’s what you need to know about diamond and graphite. Let’s start with a simple definition: diamond has a structure that occurs in such a way that the element of carbon has a diamond-cubic crystal structure by making 4 covalent bonds under certain pressure and temperature. In other words, it is one of the allotropes of the element carbon.
The main contradiction is that carbon also crystallizes as graphite, the softest material in the world. When we look at other allotropes, we see that these products, which have survived mechanically and electronically, are named graphite, graphene, diamond, fullerene, and carbon nanotube.
Although graphite and diamond are made up of carbon, graphite is one of the softest materials on earth and diamond is the hardest. It is represented by “10” on the Mohs scale, which takes a value between 1-10 and allows us to rank hardness. Why does this difference occur when the element is the same? We can easily interpret this by looking at the spatial arrangement of atoms:
A single diamond atom has made 4 bonds, which is the maximum number of carbons (4a group = 4 bonds). At 4 electrons they are held together by strong covalent bonds and form a strong 3D skeleton (this is sp3; i.e. 1 electron from s; 3 electrons from p). You can’t damage the ties from any corner, so it’s very tough. Diamond is also used to cut things for their visual quality or because of their hardness. For example, saw, grinder, or cutter drill bits are coated with diamonds. You can find it very cheaply in building materials stores.
So, how can it be bought cheap when a diamond is an expensive piece of jewelry? The issue here is the crystal shape, while the diamond used as a coating is only coated on the surface with a thickness of a few microns, while the diamond used as jewelry is obtained naturally. The crystal structure should look perfect. However, it is difficult for you to artificially produce a diamond in this format, even though there are studies.
In graphite, we see that the carbon atoms are connected planarly to each other with 3 bonds, which we call sp2(1 electron from s, 2 electrons from p) hybridization. As a result, 1 electron could not bond and they are held together by weak van der Waals bonds between planes. So what are the physical consequences of this?
Van der Waals forces are physical and break with mechanical force, for example, if you make a pencil tip you can leave a mark on the paper in layers of planes. Even if it appears as a line in macro size, if you enlarge it enough; You can see that it is made up of hexagons.
What happens if a structure with 4 electrons bonds with 3 electrons and only 1 is left open? This provides electron conductivity. So graphite is conductive just like copper. In the past, those who use AMD processors know, we used to bridge the processor with a pen tip to break the multiplier lock. Back then, I never thought about how conductive the pen tip is. Although pencils today are made of a graphite-clay mixture (2 of them have a planar slice structure), graphite is responsible for the conductivity part. As you can see, changing the place of 1 bond of the same element completely changes the properties of that substance.
Here’s a Diamond Harder Than Itself
How harder can diamond, the most precious stone in the world, which we know as the hardest substance in nature, be? Australian researchers have produced a diamond harder than a diamond with their new technique. This study, conducted by scientists at the Australian National University, was based on a type of diamond called “Lonsdaleite”, which is very rare in nature. This rare type of diamond, which can only be found in regions that have been hit by meteor showers before, differs from ordinary cubic diamonds with its hexagonal structure and surprising hardness.
Australian researchers have also succeeded in producing a nano-sized artificial version of the lonsdaleite diamond, which is 58% harder than regular diamonds even in its natural state. Using a scientific device called the “diamond-based cell”, the researchers created an environment with high pressure and temperature, simulating the natural formation environment of lonsdaleite. Stating that this method used is cheaper and more efficient than previous methods, Australian scientists also say that the diamond produced as a result of the process is harder than normal lonsdaleite.
Stating that the Londsdaleite diamond is much harder than normal diamonds due to its hexagonal structure, researcher Dr. Brandy said in his statement, “The most exciting part of the study was that we were able to produce this hard diamond in nano sizes. Because the smaller such materials, the harder they have a structure.”
As you know, mines are another important area of use for diamonds, the world’s most precious stones, which are indispensable for women’s engagement and wedding rings. With their hardness that can cut even steel, diamonds can sometimes become an indispensable item in mining operations. Stating that this new diamond produced will be very important in such areas, research leader Dr. Brandy said, “We will see these diamonds used in mines rather than engagement rings.”
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