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LOOK: A Mineral That Is Harder Than Diamond

Dec 14, 2016 09:12 AM EST
LOOK: A Mineral That Is Harder Than Diamond
Material science has reached a new high with a newfound diamond.

(Photo : Paul O’ ‘Driscol/Getty Images)

Recent news on material technology shows that diamond may not be the hardest mineral in the world anymore. Lonsdaleite, a hexagonal polymorph of diamond, is reportedly 50 percent harder than diamond. This particular kind of diamond occurs naturally at the very center of meteorite impact sites in the world. However, scientists may have found a method to create this kind of diamond variant inside a laboratory. 

A mineral harder than a diamond, the Lonsdaleite is normally created in high-impact regions such as that of the center of a meteorite crater. A report from noted that the hexagonal chemical structure of this specific material makes it much harder than regular, natural occurring diamonds. The latter is normally only in a cubic structure.

Not only is diamond valuable for as a piece of jewelry, but it can also be used in varied industries such as mining and metal-cutting. With its ability to cut through mostly anything in the world, scientists have been in search of a process to make diamond much tougher than it naturally is.

ABC reported that the Lonsdaleite is aimed to be used primarily for the mining industry because it could not only cut through solid rock but through diamonds as well. It makes the extraction of minerals and ores much easier and more convenient. However, scientists are quick to point that the Lonsdaleite has been created for industry purposes rather than for jewelry

According to a report from Science Alert, a diamond anvil cell or DAC was used to reproduce this new mineral. It is used to create high pressures that simulate naturally occurring pressures underneath the Earth's surface. This pressure added to a temperature of about 400 degrees Celsius was able to create the tough new diamond, a method which is cheaper, faster, and more efficient than previous ones. 

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