Instructables
Picture of How to Make a Synthetic Diamond
My 10-year Wedding Anniversary is coming up so I thought I'd make my wife something special. A few months back I'd seen a show on TV where they demonstrated how companies were now making "cultured" diamonds in the lab. There are a few different methods, but the simplest is something called "chemical vapor distillation". The process is pretty straightforward. Basically, microwaves are used to create a slurry of graphite plasma which, when rapidly cooled form a crystal structure.

I checked around on the internet and found several sites where others have been doing the same thing. The best part was that everything I'd need were pretty common household items. So, I rounded up the necessary supplies and began imagining how great life would be once I'd cornered the international diamond market.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Here's the surprisingly short list of materials I used:

A standard home microwave oven
2 coffee mugs
3 pieces of 3mm graphite pencil lead
A few drops of extra virgin olive oil
A 5" piece of 100% cotton thread

The hardest item to find was the 100% cotton thread. It's amazing how scarce that stuff is. After searching through all of our sewing notions, I finally found some black thread that I think my mom bought back in the 70's.

Step 2: Prepare the Olive Oil

Picture of Prepare the Olive Oil
As I mentioned above, the theory behind this project is using microwaves to heat the graphite into a plasma. In general, pencil graphite is not reactive enough to microwaves. So, a thin oil is used to concentrate the heat in a specific area of the graphite. Also, as the oil heats up and begins to burn, it chemically separates the binder in the pencil lead from the graphite.

Place a few drops of olive oil onto a plate and lay the thread in the oil. The thread will absorb some of the oil.
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TROLOLOLOLOL
Cheathum144 years ago

I don't like being "that guy" but it seems there are plenty of others on this site so im going to say it anyway; thats not a diamond. Here are a few reasons why.
1. The pencil lead you used contains a large amount of clay, not just graphite.
2. Microwaves are not capable of generating the heat neccesary to recrystalize carbon.
3. Even if the microwave could reach the neccessary temperature, the pressure required to make a diamond is around 50,000 to 70,000 times that of earth's atmosphere.
4. How is it that you claim to have made a diamond in your microwave if diamonds weren't even synthesized until 1953, six years after the first microwave oven was made? If they had the technology in 1947, why not use it then?

Sorry for pooping your party, but it looks like im not the only one.

Let me bomb your party.

1. A real diamond placed in a CO2 atmosphere will dissolve into "nothing"--no pressure or heat involved.

2. Fake industrial diamond is not manufactured under such high temperatures or pressures either.

3. An Australian high-school student developed a way of coating materials in diamond micro-dust, using COLD and low pressures--great for making grinding wheels but hopeless for laser focusing devices.

Superheat and pressure is only theory.
lucek Treknology4 months ago

You can make industrial daimounds with TNT. Does that mean that they started doing so in 1863.

mrcrumley (author)  Treknology4 years ago
And let me party on your bombing: You're not the first person to point this out.
I was bombing Cheathum14, not you. But I do re-assert that extreme heat and pressure will not be the methods by which "gem" quality diamonds are reproduced--and even then they won't be "gem" quality because they will lack the unique flaws of the natural product.

Of course, if subsequently worthless "pure" diamond can be grown then lenses and other optics will take a massive left turn in efficiency. And yes, I confidently predict that such method will not only validly suck carbon out of the atmosphere, it will turn out rocks in such volume that the South African economy will collapse.
mogg Treknology3 years ago
Synthetic diamonds are made at about 300deg C, but usually in a pressure vessel using microwave radiation and a "seeding" crystal. You can make diamond as big or small as you want by growing them in a chemically neutral environment (nobel gas/ nitrogen) using CO2. Check out wikipedia, has an article about them. The diamonds are purer than natural sourced diamonds, and are currently being applied to electronics, especially light based circuits.
Go to a big jewelers and ask for yellow diamonds- they are tinted to distinguish them natural ones, but they can come in any colour depending on the material you poison the crystals with. They have the same colour as urine.
I haven't tried it, so can't say if this will work, but I'm skeptical of the chemistry.Once I've destroyed my microwave (it's crap anyway), i'll let you know. (^^)
mrcrumley (author)  mogg3 years ago
I think I've mentioned this before, but I haven't read if it's been tried: perhaps a greater pressure could be achieved by incorporating a vice in the process... and maybe a tiny (yet strong) person to crank it - just an idea.
mrcrumley (author)  Treknology4 years ago
 Maybe... but they'll always have the World Cup.
It isn't only theory, graphite is the most stable allotrope of carbon at ambient temperature and 1atm pressure. (Yes you can convert diamond into graphite in an inert atmosphere at around 1000°C) Maybe there are some ways that don't need ultra high temperatures or pressures, but it is proven that diamond is more stable than graphite at these conditions and thats why it transforms into it.
@Teknology
You didn't quite bomb my party. I know that diamonds can be formed at much lower temperatures and pressure.(Microscopic diamonds can form on the surface of the sun where the temp. is only 10,000 and where there is little pressure) I was just saying that for a diamond of that size (visible to the naked eye) to be formed, it would take more than the pressure and heat a microwave can generate. Also, if i'm wrong, so be it, i'm only a sophomore in high school anyway and i'm taking physics next year.
I agree with you. I saw an episode on Nova scienceNOW on how these people can manmake real diamonds. It was so private, the host and the whole camera crew had to be blindfolded for the ride there and back. Also they use these obviously expensive machines with a "secret recipe" they called it. Scientists wouldn't pay that much if they could just use a microwave.
Dude, its a prank.
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=0&f=S&l=50&TERM1=Apollo+Diamond&FIELD1=ASNM&co1=AND&TERM2=&FIELD2=&d=PTXT

Apollo Diamond

You could use a microwave and an Absorber such as Silicon Carbide to absorb the microwave radiation and convert to heat.

You would need much lower pressures but you would have to have a controlled atmosphere to the Silicon carbide chamber and that chamber would have to have a suitable refractory and need to be kept cool such that its heat up does not cause ionization which results in it absorbing microwaves and heating up as well.

Apollo Diamonds are gem perfect they can only be identified by lack of any defects. Of Course if done at home you could vary input defects theoretically and they could never be identified.

Microwaves are ideal in this process because of the tight control of temperature in connection with the absorber. It is also more energy efficient.

Microwaves with a suitable absorber. Silicon Carbide, Zirconium Oxide, Plutonium Oxide and others, can absorb nearly 100% of microwave radiation.

They heat up and radiate in infrared. You need a suitable refractory and you probably want to keep it cool so that it does not heat up and ionize and start absorbing microwave energy.

The temp is achievable.

For small crystals you could use cavitation and therefore not need the high pressures. The crystals would be very small.

For Large crystals you need not have as high a pressure but you do need a controlled atmosphere.

They were using microwaves as early as 1953 at Y-12 to deal with radioactive materials processing.

You may have made Silicon Carbide in a process similar to the Acheson Process if you arced in non controlled atmosphere.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicon_carbide
About the microwave..I'm thinking that a discovery of diamond-making need not come out the second the microwave is launched..people were pretty freaked by them.. Microwaves for food uses anyway because they were scary..
Hitler refused to allow his troops to eat food cooked it them because they were proven to mutate protein, and mutant proteins become cancerous, still a researched and proven fact, the old documents are still around for public review, online. Microwaves were around in studies years before they were launched, but they recieved passage into the public through a manipulative buy-off, against the will and recommendation of the reviewing doctors of the day on the panels.

So heads were not all about playing with microwaves in popular masses. A few were daring to launch experiments, but its main intention had some sinister purposes even though it was promoted for cool ones. Diamonds on the other hand would've been a lighter area of creative experimentation, dangerous as all science can be. I wish I'd known about the diamond thing earlier--it would've been fun to work with :D! Glad I no longer use a micro, though..
mrcrumley (author)  Cheathum144 years ago
Your response was more thoughtful than the usual, so allow me to retort:
If the "clay"in question is Clay Aiken, that only strengthens my case - his voice is like diamond.
Maybe you didn't notice the "doneness" button on my microwave... I think it goes to "11."
I assure you that the pressure I was under from my wife to NOT burn our house down exceeded 70,000 bars.
In 1953, President Truman announced we had developed the bomb. Later that month, Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" opened on Broadway. That's just too much of a coincidence for me to believe diamond-microwave technology hadn't been discovered.

Also... you should read the other comments to see how this story ended.

:) Well played. I thought there was something odd about this instructable. Also, pranking me isn't quite that difficult because im the most gullable guy in my county.

 I hope you don't live in poland. 
haha, i live in texas and i'm gullable, not stupid :)
 Oh my bad I misread that, thought you said country. 
Guess that makes you the stupid one!
Wow, nothing like the cover pic! ;-)
dqsdlfkj1 year ago
@barkbark

How do you make a protein "cancerous?" Cancer involves a mutation of a cell's DNA. DNA that is already mutated can be safely eaten, as it gets broken down into nuclitides before it enters a cell. Protein that is mutated is eliminated by decomposer proteins (forgot their name), and the only worry about mutated proteins are prions, which are very rare. I do not know if you can create a prion via microwave (they are extremely stable, so why do we not see them around? they must have a high activation energy then!), but I believe the only prions that are malicious are ones that get inside your brain.
Milikyas1 year ago
Hi .I found this article interesting and I have tried to demonstrate the project for myself as exactly stated here but I was not successful( I didn't see any diamond) I want to know why it didn't work or is it really April the fool.
Interesting, no doubt. But I have, that is I know where you can find little stronger argument for making synthetic diamonds
frankiedog2 years ago
cheatthumb14 this method it known as chemical vapor deposition witch is a method converting the carbon in to plasma wich when colled will cristilize in to diamond this metod DOSE NOT require high pressure like other methods just search cvd on wikipedia
mrcrumley (author)  frankiedog2 years ago
I'll have to check out that Wikipedia article after I finish reading the "Practical Joke" entry.
lesley0904 years ago
so exactly how long do you need to have it the microwave
mrcrumley (author)  lesley0904 years ago
Well... I recommended that the microwave run as long as it can. In my case, I set it to 99 minutes, 99 seconds.

But, you really need to read the entire instructable first, including the comments. The comments reveal some interesting and important details about this process.
ok but does experiment actually work and how would the crytals come out to be
mrcrumley (author)  lesley0904 years ago
Depending on how you define "work", yes. Depending on how you define "crystals", not very very well.
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mcuz mrcrumley2 years ago
Hey, can you please make a video of this and put it on youtube?
mrcrumley (author)  mcuz2 years ago
I'm sorry, No. I'm now so rich from making all these diamonds that I can't tear myself away from all my yachting to make a video. Good luck though.
dombeef3 years ago
Wow, this is really cool! I am going to try this right now, the graphite is almost done soaking, how big does it have to be? I am trying two kinds right now, 0.7 mm and 0.5mm, wish me luck!
lol
get a file and try to file it. If the file grooves thin out then, voilà you have made the worlds hardest material. And it also files away any other graphite debris
You do realize that this ible was meant to prank the instructables community right?
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