Facts about diamondproperties and applications

Diamond is the hardest naturally occurring material known. Over 70 percent of diamonds are used for industrial applications and demand for the material is continuously growing.

Natural diamond is carbon crystals that forms under high temperature and pressure conditions that exist only about 100 miles beneath the earth’s surface. It is typically about 99.95 percent carbon. The other 0.05 percent can include one or more trace elements, which are atoms that aren’t part of the diamond’s essential chemistry.

Diamond’s crystal structure is isometric, which means the carbon atoms are bonded in essentially the same way in all directions.

Another mineral, graphite, also contains only carbon, but its formation process and crystal structure are very different. The result is that graphite is so soft that you can write with it, while diamond is so hard that you can only scratch it with another diamond.

Without any one of these factors, diamond might be just another mineral. Fortunately, though, this special combination of chemical composition, crystal structure, and formation process gives diamonds the qualities that make them extraordinary.

Properties

Besides the hardness, diamond provides an impressive combination of chemical, physical and mechanical properties:

  • Hardness
  • Low coefficient of friction
  • High thermal conductivity
  • High electrical resistivity
  • Low thermal expansion coefficient
  • High strength
  • Broad optical transparency from ultra violet to infra red
  • Resistant to chemical corrosion
  • Biologically compatible

Example of applications

The use of diamond has grown enormously since World War 2, exploiting the unique combination of properties and the increased availability of the material as synthesis methods developed.

  • Wear components
  • Cutting tools
  • Thermal management (in e.g. substrates, heat spreaders and heat sinks)
  • Semiconductor devices
  • Optical components
  • Other high performance applications

Curious to find out more?

More information about the world’s first printed diamond composite can be found on our diamond composite website.