Did you know that synthetic diamonds have many extraordinaire uses, beyond just being a more cost-effective alternative to the expensive natural kind? The DeBeers-owned company Element Six are behind the development of synthetic industrial-grade diamonds However, the diamonds they make are much more than a fancy rock you can put in a ring and give to your bride-to-be as a suitable engagement ring. They are used in a wide variety of different applications. In this post we will look at just some of them.
First things first…
What Are Synthetic Diamonds?
Most synthetic diamonds in the world today are made using high pressure high temperature methods. These methods are used to imitate the natural thermodynamic conditions in place when real diamonds are formed. However, they benefit from the addition of a special molten metal catalyst/solvent that lowers the kinetic barrier and acts as a form of transportation for the dissolved carbon. However, another, more preferred method is known as CVD and involves carbon in a gaseous form found in plasma and the thermal disassociation of the gas hydrogen, with a gas temperature of over 2000 degrees Celsius. This is preferred because it produces higher rates of growth and offers greater control over the purity, resulting in higher quality diamonds.
Why Is It So Strong?
Synthetic diamonds are thought to be the hardest material in the world and the uniquely strong properties it has all come from its sturdy lattice chemical structure. Atoms of carbon are packed together in a very dense tetrahedral shape.
The Advantages of this Strength
As a result of its strength, synthetic diamond has a variety of advantages for abrasive and mechanical applications. This includes the likes of grinding, drilling and cutting. Alongside these applications it is also used in various technological applications such as laser windows with as it can be used to create them with greater scratch resistance. They can also be used to construct thinner heat spreaders that are able to support a bigger thermal and mechanical load in various thermal management systems.
Therefore some of the uses you may not have realised synthetic diamond has includes water treatment, sensors, electronics, acoustics, optics, crushing/drilling, precision machining.
In a new eBook released by Element Six, the various applications, as diverse and varied as they are, is looked at for synthetic industrial diamonds. The book is entitled a Guide to the Ultimate Supermaterial and is an excellent showcase for just what is possible with imitation diamonds.
So next time you are looking at ‘fake’ diamonds and wondering if they are really as good as natural diamonds, you now know that they are. A lot of the value of diamonds was invented by companies in the past to create a need for them that wasn’t actually there. It’s interesting now to see how synthetic diamonds are thought of as having greater advantages in a wide range of different industries. So, not only can they be used to make your wife smile, they can also have real-world uses that can help manufacturers.