Flickering candle flame contains ‘millions of tiny diamonds that are created and disappear’

Thanks to Phil Krause for suggesting this post

As if a candlelit dinner wasn’t romantic enough. Scientists have shown that a flickering flame is studded with millions of tiny diamonds. Roughly 1.5million of the twinkling gems are created every second. Sadly, for those whose eyes are lighting up the thought of making a fortune, the jewels are so small that up to 300,000 would fit on the head of a pin. And they disappear in the blink of an eye. But if scientists come up with a way of harnessing the technology, people could use little more than a candle and a match to ‘grow’ diamonds from scratch.

As well as costing a fraction of the price of ‘real’ diamonds, they would be an ethically sound alternative to the blood diamonds mined in African war zones. An alternative source of diamonds would also be a boon to industry, which uses the fantastically hard stones in everything from saw blades to prosthetic hips. The idea comes from a St Andrews University scientist challenged to find out just what is inside a flame.

Wuzong Zhou, a professor of chemistry, said: ‘A colleague from another university said to me: “Of course, no one knows what a candle flame is actually made of.” ‘I told him I believed science could explain everything eventually, so I decided to find out.’ The professor invented a filter that allowed him to successfully extract particles from the centre of the flame, where temperatures top 1,400C, and then examined them.’ To his surprise, he discovered that the carbon in the candle wax had formed all four types of pure carbon, including diamonds and graphite, or pencil lead. Source: Flickering candle flame contains ‘millions of tiny diamonds that are created and disappear’

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