Nothing is more difficult than a diamond. And how about another diamond that was made in the laboratory? For the first time, there is strong evidence that it will. Artificial diamonds are harder than natural diamonds.
They are named after their six-sided crystal structure. Hexagonal diamonds have been found at some meteorite impact points. Others were briefly made in laboratories. The Department of Physics at the University of Washington created hexagonal diamonds to measure their stiffness. Use sound waves. Their results are detailed in a recent article in Physical Review B.
“Diamond is a very unique material,” says Yogendra Gupta. He is the director of the Institute for Physics and the author of the study. He’s not just the strongest. It has beautiful optical properties and very high thermal conductivity. Now we’ve created the hexagonal shape of the diamond. It is significantly stiffer and stronger than normal gem diamonds. ‘
Another lead author is Travis Volz. In his diploma thesis he focused on the production of hexagonal diamonds from graphite. He used gunpowder and pressurized gas. So it drove small graphite disks at 22,000 kilometers per hour on a transparent material. The impact created shock waves on the panes. And they quickly turned them into hexagonal diamonds.
Immediately after the impact, the researchers generated a small sound wave. The lasers measured their movement through the diamond. The sound moves faster through stiffer material. Before that, the sound moved faster through the cubic diamond. It moved even faster with lab-made hexagonal diamonds.
Stiffness is the ability of a material to withstand deformation under force or pressure. A stone is stiffer than rubber because rubber bends when pressed. The hardness is the resistance to scratches or other surface deformations.
Artificial diamonds are harder than natural diamonds. However, science needs to be advanced enough to be able to make and mine lab-made hexagonal diamonds.
“If one day we can produce and polish them, I think they would be more in demand than cubic diamonds,” said Gupta. “If someone said to you, ‘Look, I’ll give you two diamonds to choose from: one is much rarer than the other.’ What would you choose? “