Can diamonds burn?

Beijing time on September 8 news, according tomedia reports, there is a well-known slogan: “Diamonds last a long time.” “But in practice, diamonds can also burn if proper heat is taken and enough oxygen is given. After all, like black coal, diamonds are made of carbon. It’s just that it’s easier to burn coal, and it’s a little hard to get diamonds to burn and keep burning. But at the end of the day, diamonds can burn.

Can diamonds burn?

The secret is to create the right conditions so that strong diamonds can react with the oxygen needed to fuel the fire.

“You have to turn solid carbon into gaseous so that it can react with the air and create flames, ” said Rick Sackleben, a retired chemist and member of the American Chemical Society.

What’s the best way? Heat! And it’s a lot, a lot of heat. At room temperature, diamonds burn at about 1,652 degrees Fahrenheit (about 900 degrees Celsius), according to Christopher Baird, a physics professor at West Texas Agricultural University. In contrast, highly volatile coal (i.e. coal containing large amounts of gas) has a burning point of about 1233 degrees Fahrenheit (667 degrees Celsius), while wood has a burning point of 572 degrees Fahrenheit (300 degrees Celsius) or less, depending on the material of the wood.

When heated, the diamond emits a red light and then turns white. High temperatures allow the diamond’s surface and air to react chemically, converting carbon into colorless, odorless carbon monoxide.

“Carbon plus oxygen produces carbon monoxide, which releases heat; carbon monoxide continues to react with oxygen, releasing more heat; and rising temperatures can take away more carbon monoxide, which increases oxygen concentrations,” Baird said.

However, such burning is only a slight fire. To get a fire out of a diamond’s surface, you usually need an extra boost: 100% oxygen, not just 22% of the indoor air. Increased oxygen concentration allows the chemical reaction to continue on its own. The carbon monoxide produced by burning on the surface of a diamond, when combined with oxygen, creates a flame that dances on the diamond.

“Almost everything can burn in pure oxygen, ” says Sackleben.

According to the Gemological Society of America (GIA), flames can damage diamonds even without pure oxygen. When a home is on fire or anxious jewelers deliberately set fire to diamonds, they usually do not turn out in a fire, but the surface burns, and then it no longer looks shiny, but gray or a little white. But after removing the burnt-out part, the diamonds inside glowed as usual.

Carbon produces carbon dioxide and water when burned in oxygen. So, in theory, if you burn long enough, pure carbon diamonds will be gone;