Science 101: Is it possible to turn coal into diamonds?

Journal Article by: William C. Robertson, Ph.D. Digital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

How cool would it be to be Lois Lane? Anytime she wants a diamond, she just has Superman use his super strength to squeeze a lump of coal. But is this really possible? Using a high enough temperature and enough pressure, can you turn coal into diamonds? To answer this, we have to address the nature and formation of coal and the nature and formation of diamonds.

  • Elementary

A selection from Science and Children – December 2006

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Reviews (1)
  • on Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:40 PM

A trip through the allotropes of carbon is presented in this article. Even this reader learned about the term “white carbon”. But as the author points out coal is an ore that contains carbon but is not pure carbon. OK so when does pressurize coal you get diamonds with impurities. Doesn’t that make a diamond more interesting (blue, yellow, brown and other colored diamonds)?

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

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