What are Diamonds?
What are Diamonds?
Diamonds are a particular form of the chemical element Carbon - one of several forms, known as "allotropes" Other allotropes of carbon include graphite (used in pencil "leads"). Diamond is in fact a less stable form of Carbon than graphite, but under nornaml conditions, the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is so slow as to be negligible.
In terms of chemical bonding, diamond is known as giant covalent. Each carbon atom is bonded (by a shared pair of electrons) to 4 surrounding carbon atoms, with the surrounding atoms arranged in a tetrahedral arrangement (bond angle 109.5°), which corresponds to a face-centered cubic crystalline structure. A perfectly formed crystal of diamond, is thus a giant molecule consisting of many millions of Carbon atoms bonded together.
Because of its strong covalent bonds, and the large amount of energy required to break these bonds, diamond is know for its extreme hardness. Additionally, its structure also gives it the highest thermal conductivity of any bulk material.
A pure diamond will be clear, however diamond's structure can often be penetrated by impurities such as atoms of Nitrogen or Boron. These impurities, as well as defects that may arise in the structure, give some diamonds distinctive colors, including:
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