Man-Made Diamonds: Discovering the Synthetic Counterpart
Diamonds are used for many industrial purposes, popular for their physical properties such as their extreme hardness and high thermal conductivity. This explains why they are mined out of volcanic pipes. It is in high temperatures that diamonds are formed. And with this knowledge, man has now figured out how to re-create the formation of synthetic diamonds.
Synthetic diamonds are made via chemical means in places much like factories or laboratories. They share the same physical hardness of original diamonds and are also used in industrial applications. Synthetic diamonds also have the potential to be used in the fields of electronics and medicine. This is, of course, at a much cheaper cost since they are not valued as high as their original counterparts.
Synthetic diamonds are sometimes referred to as manufactured or artificial diamonds. So to the buying market they are considered to be “fakes”. However, a synthetic diamond actually has the same properties of an original diamond and is considered to be of higher quality.
The first artificial diamonds were manufactured by using heated charcoal at high temperatures with iron in kind of an electric oven. It generated enough high pressure to turn graphite into diamond. Since then, the process has been improved and more sophisticated means have been invented to develop the same product. But there are actually only two main methods to create synthetic diamonds. One is known as the High Pressure High Temperature. This is the most used method because it is cheaper to operate. The method involves recreating the exact conditions that create natural diamonds deep in the Earth. The other method involves the use of chemical vapors to create carbon plasma onto which carbon atoms then deposit themselves to form diamonds.
Now that diamonds can be made, many companies have been set-up solely for the purpose of manufacturing them so that they can be used in many industries. One particular company in the US that uses the chemical vapor method can even produce diamonds of different colors, like pink or black. This controlling ability is known as “doping” and is important in the creation of chemical vapor diamonds (or CVD’s). CVD’s are important because they can be used in electronics. They can be used as conductive diamonds used as electrodes. These in turn can be used to detect certain substances that can’t normally be studied such as organic contaminants in water. Because of these diamonds, an improved waste water treatment study has been developed.
The traditional diamond industry today has to evaluate their business dealings now that a cheaper alternative is available to the market. Since natural and synthetic diamonds look alike to the naked eye, famous diamond companies use sophisticated technologies to separate the so-called “fake” diamonds from their natural counterparts.