You might find this hard to believe, but a German
scientist is turning ordinary peanut butter into diamonds
. Yep, the
delicious nutty spread that you have in your cupboard is the exact
material Dan Frost, a geologist from the Bayerisches Geoinstitut, is
using to produce man-made diamonds
before you go out and invest in cases of Jif, Skippy or Peter Pan, it’s
important to know just how Frost gets the mushy inexpensive peanut
butter to transform into the world’s hardest and most coveted gemstone.
formation of natural diamonds occurs when carbon-rich material is
exposed to the extreme temperatures and pressures of the Earth’s mantle
about 500 miles below the surface. Temperatures at that depth are 4,000
degrees Fahrenheit and the pressure is 1.3 million times greater than
To recreate this environment in his lab, Frost
takes the carbon-rich peanut butter and cooks it in a furnace while
squeezing it with a piston until it’s at 280,000 atmospheres of
pressure. The heat and pressure force the carbon atoms to rearrange
themselves into denser matter. Then, the already-dense crystals are
squeezed a second time using an anvil composed of gem-quality diamonds.
This process generates about 1.3 million atmospheres of pressure.
result of the high-tech peanut butter torture test is a lab-created
diamond suitable for industrial purposes, but not for jewelry. Frost
acknowledges that the process is a slow and arduous one. It takes weeks
to produce a diamond 3mm in diameter (about 0.10 carats).
Frost believes that his peanut butter-based diamonds can be used to
build better semiconductors in electronics and super-strong material for
industrial applications.Image: BigStockPhoto.com