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    May 09

    untitled-129.jpgA nanodiamond can be created by detonating TNT and RDX and then gathering the remaining soot. This idea is that pure nanodiamond can be produced by the detonation of a diamond blend and will then form by chemical purification. The soot left over actually contains tiny diamonds, which measure four nanometers in size. However, in order for these diamonds to shine and look anything like diamonds they must be exposed to a high-energy electron beam and then heated 800 degrees Celsius. The nanodiamond has many unique physical characteristics just like its bigger cousin, the full karat diamond stone.

    Nanodiamonds have a rounded shape, an active surface and a diamond-like hardness that can very useful in a number of applications. (The strength of nanodiamonds is compared to Teflon) In addition, nanodiamonds also have wear resistance, are resistant to steel corrosion, have angstrom finishes of polished surfaces and have the physical characteristics of rubber. Additionally, nanodiamonds also have the same lubricating power that oils do. How have these physical qualities of these tiny objects been used in practice?

    Nanodiamonds have been used as light beacons for chemotherapy, medical treatment that sees chemicals killing harmful microorganisms, usually cancer cells. The nanodiamonds are used as light when they are attached to cancer cells as well as tumors. Now, medicine can be delivered to the right zone with increased accuracy. This shows you how small these nanometer-sized diamonds really are, that they actually attach to microscopic cells.

    Additionally, scientists have found that carbon based nanodiamonds are soluble in water, and have goof biocompatibility. This means that these nanadiamonds, when used along with treatment, cause little to no inflammation in the body. This is a promising finding, though research is by no means complete. There are still scientists seeking to test the level of toxicity of these small diamonds, and how long they can remain in a person’s body before becoming toxic or from dissipating altogether. While it is known that nanodiamonds have a useful life, they are far from “forever” like full size diamonds. This is why using nanodiamonds in medical procedures is still experimental. Science is not quite at the point where full-scale clinical trials can commence. However, when more is learned regarding the affect of nanodiamonds in the body then more options may open up.

    Nanodiamonds, while they are documented, are not completely understood. While they have been shown to be useful in a variety of industrial processes (much like black diamonds) the full potential of these tiny, shiny objects is not yet realized. Nanodiamonds have been used as polishing material, additives to engine oil, lubricants for metal, fillers for plastics and rubbers, and additives to galvanic electrolytes. There may still be many other uses of nanodiamonds to be revealed in the future. However, it’s safe to assume that nanodiamonds will never be held in the same esteem as their bigger cousins—after all, hundreds of thousands of nanodiamonds could fit through the eye of a needle! Nevertheless, nanodiamonds are a phenomenon worth learning about.

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