Do burning diamonds burn?

Diamond is very hard and durable, but after all, the essence of this gem is carbon like coal! With the proper application of heat and enough oxygen, diamonds can also ignite.

The key is to create the right conditions for the diamond to react with the required amount of oxygen.

You have to convert that ‘solid carbon’ into a gas, so that it can react with air to form fire,” said Rick Sachleben, a chemist and member of the American Chemical Society.

To do that, you need a lot of heat. According to physicist Christopher Baird of West Texas A&M University, in air at room temperature, diamonds need temperatures up to about 1,652 degrees Fahrenheit (900 degrees Celsius) to ignite. Meanwhile, a volatile coal ignites at about 1,233 degrees F (667 degrees C) and wood at 572 degrees F (300 degrees C) or less, depending on the type.

Do burning diamonds burn?
Even without pure oxygen, diamonds can still be damaged by flames. (Illustration).

When heated, a diamond will initially glow red, then white. The heat creates a reaction between the diamond’s surface and the air, converting the carbon into carbon monoxide (CO) – a colorless and odorless gas.

“Carbon plus oxygen to make carbon monoxide produces heat; carbon monoxide reacting with oxygen produces more heat; rising temperatures cause carbon monoxide to move, so more oxygen is introduced,” Baird said. more “.

However, only that much is enough for the diamond to glow, but not yet ignite. Nurturing a flame on a diamond surface typically requires 100% oxygen (or pure oxygen) rather than room air, which is only 22% oxygen. This increase in concentration gives the reaction all it needs to survive on its own. The CO gas released from the diamond will ignite in the presence of oxygen, creating fire on the surface of the stone.

According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), even in the absence of pure oxygen, diamonds can still be damaged by fire. Typically, a diamond that is burned indoors or burned by a soldering iron will not burn out completely, but will instead ignite on the surface, causing the surface to turn white. Cutting off the burnt parts will reveal a smaller but still transparent stone, according to GIA.