Mystery diamonds discovered in space could be tougher than any gem on Earth
DIAMONDS from space have crashed into Earth and lead a scientist to an amazing discovery in material science.
Samples of a rare type of meteorite have been collected in Africa and may possess a harder crystal than any known rock on Earth.
Researchers from three universities have found evidence of a substance called “lonsdaleite” in meteorites.
The meteorites are thought to originate from the interior of a dwarf planet that collided with an asteroid billions of years ago.
“Ureilite meteorites are arguably our only large suite of samples from the mantle of a dwarf planet and generally contain a greater abundance of diamonds than any known rock,” said the study Explain.
“This study is categorical proof that lonsdaleite exists in nature,” said RMIT and study co-author University Professor Dougal McCulloch. Press release.
“We also discovered the largest lonsdaleite crystals known to date, which are down to one micron in size – much, much finer than a human hair.”
hard as nails
Crystals derive their toughness from a hexagonal crystal structure made up of carbon atoms.
The hexagonal shape could make the material more impact resistant than the cubic crystal structure of diamond.
“We don’t really know how hard lonsdaleitis is,” said study leader Andrew G. Tomkins. CNet.
“It has been mathematically estimated to be 58% harder than diamond, but this has yet to be proven by measurements.”
Once better understood, lonsdaleite can have many applications in manufacturing and mechanical work.
“We believe that lonsdaleite could be used to make tiny, ultra-hard machine parts if we can develop an industrial process that promotes the replacement of preformed graphite parts with lonsdaleite,” Tomkins said in a Science press release. Daily.
There’s also room for engagement rings and jewelry, which are sometimes outfitted with controversially mined diamonds.