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  • one of the hardest stones to mine out of the earth is a diamond.

  • But what if we could just make it out of thin air?

  • Literally, Ah UK Company named Sky Diamond, hopes to revolutionize the traditional diamond mining industry by using carbon capture technology.

  • The company calls it a zero impact diamond because the process pulls carbon dioxide right out of the air.

  • Although a diamond traps only a modest amount of carbon, one carrot contains just 200 mg.

  • Pure carbon can take many forms.

  • It really all depends on how the atoms are arranged.

  • Graphite is arranged in multiple layers, graphene in a single layer, and if it's rolled up, it forms carbon nanotubes.

  • But when each carbon forms for strong bonds in a tetra hydro structure, it becomes a diamond.

  • Most natural diamonds were formed over a billion years ago, more than 120 kilometers beneath the earth's surface.

  • This is where intense temperature and pressure caused carbon atoms to strongly bought together and arrange into crystal structures.

  • Volcanic eruptions bring these crystals embedded in magma to the surface.

  • When the magma cools, it hardens, and long vertical shafts called kimberlite pipes and these pipes air what's not after in the mining industry, they're found in countries like Russia, Botswana, Canada and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  • When a source of diamonds is found, there are three common ways.

  • Their mind open pit marine and alluvial, which is the mining of screen bed deposits.

  • And all three can have quite dramatic environmental consequences, not to mention it also takes a huge toll on the people in these mining communities.

  • The term conflict diamond was first coined in reference to a series of wars that broke out in diamond rich countries in Western and central Africa during the nineties.

  • The illicit trade in diamonds has funded wars and human rights abuses for decades, and conflict diamonds continue to leak out to this day.

  • Now, synthetic diamonds offer an alternative to traditional mining practices.

  • They're chemically identical to the Earth mine counterparts.

  • But instead of forming over the course of billions of years, labs can create them in just a few days.

  • One of the common way synthetic diamonds are made is through a process called chemical vapor deposition, also known as CBD.

  • A thin layer is cut from a starter diamond to form what's called the seed.

  • The seed is then polished to an exact thickness and placed inside a reactor with a carbon containing gas.

  • Microwaves generate intense heat in the reactor, forming an electrically charged plasma.

  • Carbon atoms break away from the plasma in deposit on the diamond seed, causing them to form a bigger crystal.

  • Conditions have to be just right, or you'll end up with very expensive pencil leg instead of a sparkly diamond.

  • Unfortunately, this process has some pretty intensive energy needs.

  • It's even been argued that lab diamonds can produce three times as much greenhouse gas as mining naturally occurring diamonds.

  • But some synthetic gem labs like Sky Diamond think they have a better approach.

  • They use the same CBD process, but with 100% renewable energy made from wind and solar sky.

  • Diamond is taking the process one step further by using a little more than air and rainwater to make diamonds.

  • Their facility extracts carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, then liquefies and purifies it through electrolysis.

  • Rainwater is split into hydrogen and oxygen, the hydrogen from the water and the carbon from the CO to make methane.

  • This methane becomes plasma in the reactor and ultimately provides the carbon atoms could stick to the seed, transforming it toe a beautiful stone.

  • Things has been a years long journey, and the company is finally planning to start production in 2021.

  • While Sky Diamond is focused on jewelry, diamonds with ethical and environmental profiles may 1 day help clean up another place.

  • Diamonds are used in industry.

  • Diamonds are used in computer chip production, construction and machinery manufacturing.

  • Synthetics are especially popular because they're easy to produce, can be quality control and be custom made for specific applications.

  • In the U.

  • S.

  • 99% of industrial grade diamonds are synthetic, but most are made with brown energy from fossil fuels.

  • But with companies like Sky Diamond putting the focus on renewable energy and carbon capture, perhaps this 21st century bling is a tiny step towards a brighter future.

  • Or we work with the environment instead of against it.

  • If you like the splashy episode on diamonds, check out how diamond anvil cells are helping us figure out what's inside Earth's core.

  • If you have a science topic you want us to cover, let us know.

one of the hardest stones to mine out of the earth is a diamond.

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B1 diamond carbon mining synthetic reactor plasma

How Scientists Are Creating Diamonds From CO2 Emissions

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/01/30
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