Alchemy for Beginners: How to turn lead into diamond

By | April 4, 2014
OK, not quite Lead (Pb), but the Lead commonly known as 'pencil lead' seems to be able to transform into diamond when sandwiched between suitable base (like Platinum) and Hydrogen. Now we can drive the cost of diamonds down, and expect diamonds to show up in more industrial applications – or why not, maybe even household applications. After all, nothing is sharper than a diamond knife!

Why it works

Quoting from the article:
They found that hydrogen binding initiated a domino effect, with structural changes propagating from the sample’s surface through all the carbon layers underneath, turning the initial graphite-like structure of planar carbon sheets into an arrangement of carbon atoms that resembles diamond … [T]he scientists discovered that hydrogen binding resulted in the formation of chemical bonds between graphene and the platinum substrate.

/via +John Nash 

How to instantly turn ‘pencil lead’ (graphite) into diamond | KurzweilAI
This illustration shows four layers of transformed graphene (single sheets of graphite, with carbon atoms represented as black spheres) on a platinum surface

6 thoughts on “Alchemy for Beginners: How to turn lead into diamond

  1. Bill Carter

    Let me know what you think – a good sharp knife is so nice. The Kyocera ones are also very light weight – great for veggies.

  2. Rajini Rao

    I've heard of ceramic knives but do not own one. Thanks for the tip, +Bill Carter . My kitchen knives are really a disgrace, considering all the cooking that I do. I will be checking this out. 

  3. Bill Carter

    It might be because although diamond is very strong and stiff, relatively speaking out is not tough – many ceramics and metals have a higher resistance to fracture. Have you tried the Kyocera ceramic knives +Rajini Rao? I have one and it is awesome.

  4. Bill Carter

    Cool result! I am actually not sure why you can't have that knife today +Rajini Rao. CVD diamond and diamond like carbon (DLC) processes have been around for decades now. You can buy diamond-coated cutting tools for machining and drilling. Even my razor blades are diamond coated.

  5. Rajini Rao

    It's all in the phase..phase transition, that is! A serendipitous discovery indeed. I'd like a diamond edged kitchen knife, please 🙂


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