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 Post subject: Diamonds
PostPosted: Sat, 06-12-14, 1:15 GMT 
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I was watching the History Channel today and they had a show about diamonds. Apparently, there is a star out there, somewhere, that is actually a very huge diamond. Is there any truth to this?
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 Post subject: Re: Diamonds
PostPosted: Sat, 06-12-14, 4:20 GMT 
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yes'ish

Hydrogen "burns" to become Helium
Helium then "burns" to become Lithium
Lithium then "burns" to become Carbon

and carbon in a particular lattice structure is a diamond

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 Post subject: Re: Diamonds
PostPosted: Sat, 06-12-14, 9:23 GMT 
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You didn't mention a crucial requirement for the creation of precious gems: an extremely high pressure besides high temperature!

When I was in high school, we made (synthetic) rubies with an amazingly simple procedure that furnishes automatically the required conditions of a very high temperature along with extreme pressure.

The trick is to place highly exothermic welding powder in a bag. The mixture always involves aluminium powder. Note: rubies are composed of cristalline aluminium oxide ("corundum")! Aha... A little chromium(oxide) addition in a small melting pot provides the characteristic red ruby color. The high pressure is needed for achieving the cristalline structure!

After ignition, the temperature becomes quickly very high inside the bag:
see e.g. here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exothermic_welding

The high pressure arises by throwing the melted metal clump into cold water while heat is still near maximum. This leads to an enormous instantaneous contraction....All that remains to be done thereafter is to smash the clump and look for red rubies inside...

More details can be provided ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Diamonds
PostPosted: Sat, 06-12-14, 22:09 GMT 
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I'm just curious about how we would be able to detect an old star that became a diamond. And how would a star do this. I heard of neutron stars and black holes, but diamonds?


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 Post subject: Re: Diamonds
PostPosted: Sat, 06-12-14, 23:19 GMT 
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if the mass is just right
then once the Lithium "burn" is done and the mass is NOT great enough to start the carbon" burn"
it is a big ball of compressed carbon

that will somewhat naturally settle into a lattice ( once it cools for a VERY L O N G time )

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 Post subject: Re: Diamonds
PostPosted: Sun, 07-12-14, 0:06 GMT 
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You also end up with oxygen in there as well as carbon, produced via the first stage of the alpha-process. I.e. a "carbon-oxygen white dwarf" - calling it a giant diamond is poetic but not particularly accurate.


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