We’re used to seeing diamonds in their solid state. They’re used for their beauty and don’t have much use as a plasma, liquid or gas. A lot of people are curious, however, as to what diamonds would look like in their liquid form. We already know that diamonds are incredibly hard, so naturally melting them would be difficult, but anything can be done given enough heat. However, diamonds are tricky for many reasons:
The Puzzle of Liquefying Diamonds
At ~700 degrees Fahrenheit the diamond will start burning. This will produce Carbon Dioxide and change the structure so that it is no longer a diamond. As diamond is made of Carbon, it would revert back to that form while losing its mass to the production of CO2. This is due to the presence of Oxygen.
So We Just Get Rid of the Oxygen Right?
If we get rid of the oxygen, it actually turns into Graphite and then will eventually turn into liquid graphite. Graphite is a black, pasty form of Carbon and the liquid would look similar. Not very aesthetically pleasing.
But I want to see Liquid Diamonds!
So do scientists, which is why they developed a way to get around this.
To do this, they:
- Went to sea level
- Took the world’s largest X-Ray machine with them
- Put tiny squares of diamonds in the machine
- Subjected it to an immense amount of pressure, equivalent to 10 million times our atmospheric pressure
Low and behold, it worked… for a few seconds. The diamond melted and then proceeded to re-harden almost immediately, turning back into a diamond.
The good news is that space exploration might allow us to see liquid diamonds sooner, as it’s theorized that Uranus and Neptune contain seas of liquid diamonds due to the insane levels of atmospheric pressure and the rays that occur naturally near the surface.
That just leaves us with one very large and daunting step: to get a science vessel deep into our solar system.