Posted on February 07, 2019 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments
Although diamonds are beloved for their starring role in many a fine jewelry item, they have a lesser-known yet critical role to play in many industrial and non-jewelry pursuits. We often forget that diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substance—each carbon atom in a diamond is surrounded by four other carbon atoms connected by strong, covalent bonds. Thanks to this structure, diamonds are the only stone with a hardness of 10 on the Mohs Scale. Because diamonds are so resistant to being scratched, they can come in handy for a variety of uses.
In fact, only a small portion of diamonds are used for jewelry purposes. These gem-quality diamonds are graded for color and clarity. Diamonds that don’t rank highly in these respects may find themselves in an industrial setting, serving to grind, cut, drill, and polish other durable materials. In other cases, industrial diamonds are sometimes used to protect sensitive materials from heat and abrasion—or even deliver medication. Industrial diamonds are so versatile and useful that the demand for them exceeds their supply. For this reason, lab-grown diamonds (rather than diamonds mined from the earth), help meet the high demand.
The following are the primary uses for industrial diamonds:
Diamond drill bit.
Abrasive. Most industrial diamonds are used as abrasives. To become abrasives, diamonds are crushed into micron-sized abrasive particles that are then embedded into saw blades, drill bits, and grinding wheels. In fact, diamond abrasives are used to cut and polish other diamonds!
Polishing a diamond.
Cancer treatment. Diamond particles have been used to treat certain cancers. After absorbing chemotherapy drugs, the particles are used to deliver the medication to the right area of the body while protecting the medication from the body’s defense system. Moreover, the particles help the treatment stay in the cancerous cells for longer, rendering it more effective.
Diamond windows. Diamonds can be turned into thin membranes to cover openings on lasers, X-ray machines, and vacuum chambers. Diamond windows are useful because they resist heat and abrasion.
Diamond speaker domes. These are used to enhance the performance of high-quality speakers. A thin, diamond dome will vibrate rapidly when exposed to sound vibrations; this vibration does not degrade the quality of the sound, however.
Heat sinks. Diamonds can absorb and transmit excess heat. In fact, they have the highest thermal conductivity of any element. When used as heat sinks, they conduct heat away from heat-sensitive parts of high-performance microelectronics.
Low-friction micro-bearings. Diamonds can be used as bearings in tiny mechanical devices where durability and abrasion resistance is needed.
Diamonds serve as micro-bearings in small mechanical devices.
Water-resistant parts. To form a water-resistant coating, diamonds are vaporized, and the vapor is applied as a coating to a surface.
Photos: Wikimedia Commons, John Englart via Flickr, Max Pixel