diamonds are concentrated form of carbon crystal

By: brain strom

As we know, Diamond is a form of pure Carbon which is in its most concentrated form. Diamond is composed solely of Carbon, a chemical element that is most fundamental to all life forms has a few impurities like nitrogen and boron. Diamond is chemically distinct from its other close cousins like graphite and lonsdaleite, both of which are composed of Carbon. But what makes diamond different from these close cousins is the particular arrangement of Carbon atoms in its crystal structure. A crystal, as we know, is a solid body which if formed from the bonding of atomic elements or compounds that are in a repeating arrangement. As we know that a crystal is a solid body that possesses a smooth external faces, the building blocks are limited to relatively small number of atoms arranged to a simple numerical combination of elements.

A neutral Carbon atom may consists of six protons and six electrons that are arranged in its atom surrounding the nucleus. A Carbon atom has four valence electrons, which are available to form bonds with other atoms. When we speak of graphite, these Carbon atoms bonds only three of its four valence electrons with neighboring Carbons resulting in a flat sheet of connected Carbon atoms leaving these layers weakly connected to one another, and the ease with which they are separated is what makes graphite so slippery. But in diamond, every Carbon would share all of its four available electrons with adjacent Carbon atoms so the electron bonding thus formed is the strongest known chemical linkage giving a diamond its hardness. So the repeating structural unit of diamond consists of eight atoms fundamentally arranged in a cube. Thus diamond crystals can develop in a variety of different shapes. So diamond crystals can form an octahedron, cubes, dodecahedra and even a combination of all these shapes. The two exceptional forms are macle, a flat form which is actually a composite crystal, and etched crystals, which have a rounded surfaces and even elongated shapes.

Real diamond crystals may not have a completely smooth faces. There may be slight indentations that are produced by a natural etching of the crystal, dissolution, or as part of the natural growth of the crystal. But a diamond may be renowned for its hardness, which is the real measure of the substance resistance to being scratched. So only a diamond can scratch another diamond. Thus we say that a diamond is the hardest known substance in nature. So hardness of the diamond may result for its durability. Although diamond is not fragile or prone to being broken apart, but it can also fracture or shatter. The answer is hidden in its perfect crystal structure. Due to this structure a diamond has a certain plane of weakness along which it can be split. A diamond has a perfect cleavage in all four directions so it separates neatly along these lines rather than in a jagged or irregular fashion, because the diamond crystals has fewer chemical bonds along the plane of its octahedral face than in other directions. This acts as an advantage to the diamond cutters. Thus in true form diamond is a concentrated form of Carbon crystals.

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