Peanut Butter Diamonds
Natural diamonds are made of pure carbon, and are formed deep inside the Earth where intense heat and pressure compress the carbon into diamond over millennia. Many everyday materials have a very high carbon content, and peanuts are one of them. The Centre for Science and Extreme Conditions at Edinburgh University has demonstrated that under extreme pressure, diamonds can be made from peanut butter. Simulating the necessary conditions was no walk in the park—their technique involved heat around 1,093°C and pressures of up to 61 tonnes per square centimetre. The pressure was achieved using the “stiletto heel effect”, squeezing the peanut butter between the hardest known substance—diamonds—which allowed the peanut butter’s carbon bonds to break down and reform into artificial diamond. Though they’re pure carbon, peanut butter diamonds are quite small, and impurities create a greenish or yellowish tinge—so they can instantly be distinguished from natural diamonds. But they are proof that materials containing carbon can be turned into diamonds. Researchers at Edinburgh University are hoping to improve this technique, recreate pressures much greater than even at the centre of the Earth. This can be used to test new and existing drugs at high pressure, helping researchers understand their stability and therefore the ways in which to improve them—but the ultimate goal is to create metallic hydrogen. Large diamonds are be needed to achieve this, which would be expensive—but not if they’re made artificially from peanut butter. Creepily, the same process can also be used to turn ashes into diamonds. Some companies offer the service of creating memorial gems from your deceased loved ones, but be prepared to pay a hefty price.