MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Can you turn coal into a diamond?

Date: Mon Jan 17 07:37:01 2005
Posted By: Neil Saunders, Research fellow
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 1101239232.Ch

Hi Alix,

In theory, you could make diamond from coal, but it is very difficult and the diamonds that you made would be tiny and not much use for anything. Diamond is a form of pure carbon and natural diamonds are formed very deep inside the earth, when carbon is exposed to very high pressures and temperatures. The other main form of carbon is called graphite - it is the same stuff that your pencil leads are made from.

Artifical diamonds are made in industry from graphite because it is a very pure form of carbon. You need temperatures of over 1000 degrees Celsius and many thousands of atmospheres pressure for this process, so it is very expensive. Coal is not pure carbon, so the process would not work so well. I think this link at Wikipedia will help explain diamonds to you:


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