The Ecoguard concrete polishing system uses high-grade industrial diamonds. What are the benefits of using diamonds? Here is a brief overview of industrial diamonds and their properties.

What Are Industrial Diamonds?

Industrial diamonds are diamonds that are used in industry to perform a function. Gemstone diamonds, by contrast, exist strictly for their aesthetic appearance rather than their functionality.

Where Do Industrial Diamonds Come From?

The term “industrial diamonds” is not synonymous with “synthetic diamonds.” To the contrary, industrial diamonds may be natural or synthetic. Natural industrial diamonds are mined the same way that gem-grade diamonds are, but are reserved for industrial use because their size or appearance makes them unsuitable as gemstones.

Natural diamonds are created by geologic processes. Chemically speaking, a diamond is composed of carbon atoms that are arranged in a diamond cubic crystal structure. Carbon can also exist as a solid in the form of graphite and coal. To obtain them, humans will then mine natural diamonds. Russia, Botswana, Canada, Angola, and South Africa were the top five diamond producers in 2018.

Most diamonds are formed deep in the Earth’s mantle where chemical reactions dissolve minerals in rocks and carbon from carbon dioxide, carbon trioxide, or methane replaces the dissolved minerals. Under the high temperatures and pressures within the mantle, the carbon atoms deposited in this way form the crystal lattice characteristic of diamonds. The diamonds are transported out of the mantle by magma flows, where they can be mined. The entire process of formation and transport takes a long time, with most natural diamonds having been formed 1 billion to 3.5 billion years ago.

The processes for synthesizing diamonds were invented during the 1940s, with the first commercially viable processes developed during the 1950s. There are two primary methods of synthesizing diamonds:

  • High pressure, high temperature diamonds are formed by delivering dissolved carbon to a seed diamond crystal under high pressure and high temperature. The dissolved carbon precipitates out of the solvent onto the seed crystal, building diamond material around the seed. This is the same principle at work as the science fair experiment in which large sugar crystals are grown by depositing small sugar crystals in sugar water.
  • Chemical vapor deposition diamonds are formed by etching a non-diamond substrate and exposing it to an ionized hydrocarbon vapor at a controlled temperature and pressure. The advantage of chemical vapor deposition is that the temperatures and pressures required are not as high as those required for high pressure, high temperature diamonds. Moreover, the size of the diamond is only limited by the size of the substrate, so you can grow large diamond crystals. The disadvantage is that the process is difficult to scale up compared to the high pressure, high temperature method.

What Are The Properties of Industrial Diamonds?

Both synthetic diamonds and natural diamonds have the same chemistry and structure, although synthetic diamonds tend to be more uniform in their characteristics because of the lack of impurities that may be found in natural diamonds. Diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substance. Diamonds also have the highest thermal conductivity of any naturally occurring substance. Diamonds are generally clear and colorless, however, impurities may result in colored or cloudy diamonds.

How Are Industrial Diamonds Used?

Because diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substance, they can be used for grinding, abrading, or cutting every other material, including other diamonds. Their high thermal conductivity also contributes to their effectiveness in grinding, abrading, and cutting by carrying heat away from the surface. This is important because the glazing of tool surfaces and blades occurs when the tool has been heated to the point that the tool surface melts.

For example, when used in a concrete polishing system to create polished concrete floors, the hardness and thermal conductivity make industrial diamonds ideal for use as an abrasive. Metal bond diamond abrasives are formed by sintering metal with diamonds with the level of abrasiveness, over 400 grit, for polishing concrete. This combines the hardness and heat transfer properties of diamonds with the strength and heat-dissipating properties of metal. These tools are key to a concrete polishing system that is efficient because fewer passes are required to polish concrete floors. Moreover, longer-lasting tools mean less waste. Less waste, combined with environmentally friendly chemicals, creates a concrete polishing system that results in a sustainable polished concrete floor.