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Make Diamonds with Hydrogen Bombs

Use underground explosions to make diamonds
  (+19, -10)(+19, -10)
(+19, -10)
  [vote for,

Under really really high pressure and temperature, graphite can turn into diamond, right? And atom bombs produce really really high pressure and temperature?

So why not bury a vast amount of graphite around a bomb (either a fusion bomb or a run of the mill fission bomb). Set the thing off, wait till it all cools down and just pick up all the huge and beautiful diamonds. It might be a little radioactive, but for industrial purposes this hardly matters and for jewelry, well who cares if you've got diamond? Besides, this goes away after a while anyway.

Perhaps it would be wise to separate the graphite into pockets with some sand or so in between before the explosion, so you don't end up with a single huge megadiamond that nobody could pull out of the ground.

It might (and I carefully choose the word "might" because I realize this is just speculation and I don't want you to doubt my credibility) even be possible to make use of abandoned coal mines, where large amounts of graphite are already naturally in the ground. It might just be possible to lower a bomb into an old mineshaft and turn a coal mine into a diamond mine! So again we can make use of recycled materials. Even the bombs can be recycled - there probably are still a few cold-war era nukes rusting away in old missile silos.

It's just a thought. But if we want it, we could put our hands together and make something beautiful. Everybody loves diamonds?

jmvw, Jul 19 2006

Operation Plowshare http://en.wikipedia...Operation_Plowshare
US Nuclear explosives program for construction [jmvw, Jul 19 2006]

Russians Making Diamonds http://www.scienced...08/990817092046.htm
It takes about 50 hours to grow a one-carat diamond, he said. [baconbrain, Jul 19 2006]

Diamond formation on meteorite impact http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/meteor.htm
[jmvw, Jul 19 2006]


       [jmvw], diamonds aren't rare enough for this to be economically viable. besides, there are already easier ways to make artificial diamonds that are chemically and structurally the same that aren't radioactive.
tcarson, Jul 19 2006

       //It might be a little radioactive,//   

Cuit_au_Four, Jul 19 2006

       i have to agree on that one [cuit].
tcarson, Jul 19 2006

       Wonderful idea and technology, generally. I mean, instead of a trash compactor, you could just have some little hydrogen bombs that can be used in the kitchen to compress refuse.
biff, Jul 19 2006

       Great idea! All these thousands of warheads are just sitting idle around the world going mouldy. Glad someone's finally thought of a good reason to let them off.
wagster, Jul 19 2006

       you'd probably do better to make different, rarer gemstones like emeralds. But the concept is delightfully halfbaked, enough that I'm willing to overlook the environmental impact.
5th Earth, Jul 19 2006

       [+] because it's better than using the bombs for what they were intended for. And for //It might be a little radioactive// - hey, glow-in-the-dark diamonds!
imaginality, Jul 19 2006

       Don't be mean to your woman. Why make her sulk? Give her one of our diamonds - she'll turn into the Hulk!
imaginality, Jul 19 2006

       Thanks all. Your feedback so far has been fabulous. Economic viability, a tagline, poetry and a reminder of the ruthless exploitation of diamond workers in Sierra Leone. Not bad at all.   

       Now what if we combine this with nuclear testing that's being done anyway? India, Pakistan and North Korea all might have some tests planned in the near future. Perhaps we can contact these countries and see if they would mind doing their tests in an a coal rich area, or else if we would move some graphite into the soil near their test site?
jmvw, Jul 19 2006

       /there probably are still a few cold-war era nukes rusting away in old missile silos./   

       A few? How about a few tens of thousands?   

       I like this idea. If only because it would flood the market with cheap radioactive diamonds. This should crash the diamond market in a few years and put a bunch of thugs out of business.   

       One Shiny Shiny Bun for you.
Galbinus_Caeli, Jul 19 2006

       Man-made diamonds are cheap and easy to produce(whatever De Beers tries to tell you), H bombs are expensive and an ecological disaster, wherever you explode them.   

       Big, radioactive fishbone for you.
DrCurry, Jul 19 2006

       Bun for halfbaked creativity. Otherwise, this is going to wind up with some poor, half-naked guy breathing from a garden hose in a pool of radioactive water in a coal mine at midnight.
baconbrain, Jul 19 2006

       [baconbrain] No, that will not happen, I am never drinking mescal again.
Galbinus_Caeli, Jul 19 2006

       Thanks, G_C. I needed a laugh.   

       Seriously, though. Diamonds are crystals. Don't they take time to form? Is a short blast going to give the conditions required?   

       I'll go do some research.   

       * * * *   

       I'm back with a quote. "It takes about 50 hours to grow a one-carat diamond." See link to Russians.   

       So this probably won't work, but it will tick off the Russians. Conservatives are going to buy into it in a big way.
baconbrain, Jul 19 2006

       //and who would probably blow you up for trying to horn in on their little cartel// - No they wouldn't. They've got TNT, I've got nukes.
wagster, Jul 19 2006

       //Diamonds are crystals. Don't they take time to form? Is a short blast going to give the conditions required?//   

       Diamond typically forms during meteorite impact. See link.   

       I have a hunch is that if the pressure is great enough and the heat sufficient, graphite can be crushed into diamond, which has a higher density, very quickly. And we have more pressure then the people at UFL. Pressure is not something we're short on.
jmvw, Jul 19 2006

       The Russians already had a scheme to use bombs to dispose of chemical waste. PCB, dioxin, that ilk. I like this because of the coal mine possibilities, and my general fondness for schemes using spare nuclear bombs.
bungston, Jul 19 2006

       Bun for the idea. I think Iraq and Iran have the perfect mixture of elements contained in their sand. I'll call the president and ask him if we can start there. "When life throws you IEDs, make diamonds!"
MoreCowbell, Jul 19 2006

       So, where/how do I buy one of those UF/Russian diamonds? After reading that article, I really find myself wanting one. Hooray for technology.
pigonthewing, Jul 19 2006

       //and my general fondness for schemes using spare nuclear bombs// So *that's* how you get the Bungco vote. Expect nuclear ideas henceforth.
wagster, Jul 19 2006

       baconbrain is right. You'll create carbon vapor with this, and at best, a few micro diamonds the size of dust, the same as with giant impacts.
ldischler, Jul 19 2006

       From a couple of meteorite sites. "Impact diamonds were found in glass bombs and highly shocked fragments of the suevite. They reach sizes up to 100 µm." And, "The largest was 0.9 mm. in diameter."   

       That is bloody small. I'm taking off my creativity croissant. I dislike doing other people's research.
baconbrain, Jul 19 2006

       Geez. You give me a roll and just when I'm about to bite in you take it away? You tell me diamonds might not form in a short blast and I find for you that they do and you use that to tell me you're doing my research?   

       Meteors hitting the surface of the earth are not necessarily the same as underground nuclear explosions in a vast area of carbon. I think that close to the core of the explosion, everything will be vaporized. Far away from it, things will just be jostled. Somewhere in between there will be enormous huge diamonds!
jmvw, Jul 19 2006

       Superman can apparently crush a lump of coal with his hand and turn it into a diamond. Considering what his residence looks like, I think this is his hobby.
jmvw, Jul 19 2006

       [jmvw] that's ice! ice i say! you should read up on your fortress of solitude lore. i mean really! shame on you!
tcarson, Jul 19 2006

       // that's ice! ice i say! // Yet he routinely visits wearing only jammies and a cape...
MoreCowbell, Jul 20 2006

       [cowbell], he can go into space wearing only jammies and a cape. why would antarctica even be considered a possible problem?
tcarson, Jul 20 2006

       In the new movie, his fortress is made of crystals.
ye_river_xiv, Jul 20 2006

       no, it's made of crystals that have taken on the form of their surroundings. hence ice. the reason the island started to grow was that it was dropped into a trench, and it hit rock.
tcarson, Jul 20 2006

       So he squeezes water with his hand until it turns to ice?
jmvw, Jul 20 2006

       uh huh, what now?
tcarson, Jul 20 2006

       Superman creationism..
jmvw, Jul 20 2006

       i'm not following you. you'll have to explain how the whole ice to diamond works.
tcarson, Jul 20 2006

       Hmm. I don't think Superman obeys the laws of thermodynamics, but maybe we can use the name kryptonite for our radioactive diamonds.
jmvw, Jul 20 2006

       Aside from the more obvious problems, the neutrons given off by the bomb, would break up the crystalline structure. I'm no expert but as a result you'll probably create worthless cloudy diamonds, though they might be strange colours as a result of all the exotic impurities.   

       Despite that you still get a bun from me, cos I'd love to work at that diamond factory.
vaccumac, Jul 20 2006

       So the giant dildos that make up the fortress of solitude are ice?
Galbinus_Caeli, Jul 20 2006

       yes [gc], they are now and always have been.
tcarson, Jul 20 2006

       And the poles that Batman and Robin slide down?
Galbinus_Caeli, Jul 20 2006

       obviously candy canes.
tcarson, Jul 20 2006

       Wonder Woman's invisible plane?
Galbinus_Caeli, Jul 20 2006

       transparent steel. i've never actually read wonder woman though.
tcarson, Jul 20 2006

       I think it would take about $500,000,000 to make an atomic bomb (that's not a very well educated estimate). And, if the diamonds were very large, as you said, they would probably sell for about $3,000 per carat (again, not a well educated guess). So, In order to make a profit, you would have to have enough material to make about 160,000 carats of diamond. But, you would have to pay for the material, too. But doing this would probably decrease diamond cost which would decrease your profit after doing it for a while.
apocalyps956, Jul 20 2006

       [apocalyps956] (what an appropriate name) 160,000 Carats is about 70lbs, or 35 kg, a big sack of coal. The average price of coal from a mine is in the range of $50 per short ton (2000 lbs) so I think this is not really cutting into our profits.   

       Where on earth did you find the cost of making a nuclear bomb? I don't think we'd have to make them - let's first use up the existing rusty cold war nukes.   

       I agree it would be expensive. I think the main cost would be in setting aside a vast piece of land for the next few decades, during which it will be radioactive. It will cause ecological problems, sick and dying animals and possibly human disease. So that and maybe the cost of some PR campaigns to assuage the public (may not be necessary in North Korea).   

       But let's say the average coal mine size has a volume of 100 million tons and that we can turn 10% of that into diamond. That would be around 453 trillion carats, which if we manage to sell this before the diamond market catches on, could yield us around $136 quadrillion dollars ($136,077,711,000,000,000).   

       This might actually be profitable. Uh oh.
jmvw, Jul 21 2006

       Next James Bond movie.. S.P.E.C.T.R.E steals another nuke and this time they mean business!
jmvw, Jul 21 2006

       "Honey, it's only a *little* bit radioactive, and it's multi-purpose too! You can see your way through the dark..."
froglet, Jul 21 2006

       in the original superman the movie, if my memory serves me right, he created the fortress of solitude by throwing a crystal into the ice. That kinda reminds me of how a nanoassembler might work. It uses materials from the surroundings to make stuff.
vmaldia, Jul 23 2006

       You do realize that hydrogen bombs themselves are very expensive, right?
DesertFox, Jul 23 2006

       Existing cold war nukes are worthless.
jmvw, Jul 23 2006

       1. Diamonds can be found at meteorite impact sites, but are not the primary source of diamonds. As the link you added explains, it's not known if the diamonds found at impact sites come from the meteorite or from the impact. Lastly, the diamonds formed are tiny and useless for jewelry   

       2. Nuclear weapons do produce very high temperatures, but do not produce that high pressures, unless the explosion is remarkably well capped. Even here, it's not enough to produce diamonds since the process requires significant temp/pressure over *time* to form. Diamonds need 10k atmospheres (approx 1Gigapascal) of pressure.   

       3. Using nuclear weapons is never adviseable
jonthegeologist, Jul 23 2006

       Cold war nukes aren't worthless, they have the ability to contaminate the groundwater nearby their storage site and that is just priceless.   


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