Sunday, 1 July 2012

Synthetic Diamonds

Peanut butter is a favorite breakfast and snack for many Americans, and not only for them. The food paste, made primarily from ground roasted peanuts, with or without added oil, was first used by the Pre-Columbian peoples of Mexico, who used it as a base for various "moles", meaning sauces.

Now, a team of scientists presented the most recent and spectacular use of peanut butter ever. They have proven it's possible to turn the common peanut butter into the most expensive gems in the world, diamonds.

The experts at the Centre for Science and Extreme Conditions at Edinburgh University have been able to simulate the conditions it takes to make a diamond - which is no easy feat. The pressure must be maintained at 45 to 60 kilobars (nearly 1 million pounds per square inch) and the heat between 1,600 to 2,370 degrees Fahrenheit. Turning peanut butter into diamonds is done by pushing the peanut butter between the tips of two diamonds. Since a diamond is the hardest substance on Earth, it has the ability to create the intense pressure need to allow the carbon bonds in the peanut butter to break down and reform as a diamond.

However, diamonds made from peanut butter are generally very small. The largest produced to date are no bigger than sesame seeds. Also, unlike diamonds formed naturally, these synthetic diamonds capture nitrogen from the air, giving them a greenish or yellowish hue. One look at these peanut butter diamonds, and it would be clear they are not quite the real thing.

indiana public media

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