Thursday, March 28, 2013

Diamond - Uses & Properties

A diamond is the hardest known mineral that occurs naturally. It is basically an allotrope of carbon in which several carbon atoms are bonded tetrahedrally and it crystallizes into the face-centered cubic diamond lattice structure. Each carbon atom has four other carbon atoms joined to it by covalent bonds and so, diamond has a very strong 3D shape. This arrangement makes it hardest known mineral and hence, suitable for a number of applications. Diamonds offer high dispersion of light and this makes them very suitable for a number of industrial applications and for jewelry as well. Regular diamonds are put under specific pressure and temperature conditions to produce Type-II diamonds.

Properties of diamonds -

  • Electrical Conductivity

Some diamonds are natural semiconductors whereas some are perfect insulators. However, substantial electrical conductivity has also been observed for some diamonds.

  • Toughness

Diamond is a tough object i.e. it offers good resistance to breakage when forces are applied to it. Diamond's toughness is good when compared to other gemstones but it is poor when compared to engineering materials.

  • Thermal Conductivity

Diamonds offer high thermal conductivity. The strong covalent bonding within the crystal results in an easy conduction of heat and the conductivity further increases at lower temperatures.

  • Color

Diamonds occur in different colors and the wide range of color includes violet, pink, blue, green, orange, translucent white. However, brown and yellow are the most common colors.

  • Refractive Index

Diamonds have a high refractive index and diamonds offer high optical dispersion.

Uses -

  • The high optical dispersion of diamond makes it very suitable for jewelry industry. Diamond is usually used in engagement rings, bracelets, earring and necklaces and also, in many other forms. The crystalline structure of the diamond allows it to be cut in different shapes and this also makes it very suitable for jewelry industry as it is not difficult to create new designs.
  • It is the hardest known substance and this makes it very suitable for cutting purpose. It is effectively used for cutting glasses, tiles and other materials.
  • Billions of dollars are traded annually in the diamond industry. A lot of people which include jewelers, diamond miners, designers, buyers and others base their livelihood on this trade. So, a number of people depend on diamond for their livelihood.
  • Diamond trade is also responsible for progress and development of some countries as
  • Diamonds are used in semiconductor coatings for computer processors and for the microchips.
  • Diamonds are used in laser components for precise optical equipments.

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