Turn Peanut Butter to Diamonds? This Geologist Did It
Dan Frost, a geologist from the Bayerisches Geoinstitut in Germany, has replicated extreme conditions found in the Earth's surface and created diamonds in his lab using regular peanut butter.
It may not be the first time that diamonds are made in a lab but it is probably one of the first cases reported where peanut butter has been used to produce lab diamonds.
Frost explains that his research team has two types of presses with which they can artificially produce diamonds in lab. One of the presses squeezes crystals by a piston up to 280,000 times atmospheric pressure while they cook in a furnace.
The conditions are similar to those found in the upper layers of the lower mantle. The high pressure and heat causes the atoms of the crystals to rearrange into denser material.
The transformed crystals are crushed by a second anvil. The anvil is made with gem-quality diamonds that gently squeeze the altered crystals. This process creates around 1.3 million atmospheres of pressure.
Frost reveals that producing diamonds in a lab is an extremely time consuming process and they are experimenting with the production of artificial diamonds with the help of different properties of carbon.
All living things contain carbon but they chose carbon-rich peanut butter in an attempt to produce diamonds. The process of making diamonds with peanut butter was very slow and messy, but Frost and his team were able to make a diamond from one of the most popular food products in the U.S.
"A lot of hydrogen was released that destroyed the experiment," says Frost. "But only after it had been converted to diamond."
The researchers are trying to produce artificial diamonds, which will act as better semiconductors in electronics. Diamonds are known to be one of the hardest materials on the Earth. Scientists are hoping to make an extremely strong diamond, harder than any other material found on Earth.
Frost revealed that making diamonds from peanut butter was just an experiment and it is not necessary that they will use the ingredient again to make artificial diamonds.