German geologist makes diamond out of peanut butter

German geologist makes diamond out of peanut butter

A German geologist has succeeded in making diamonds using peanut butter. You will probably ask yourself how this is possible. Diamonds exist out of carbon atoms that were compressed under extremely high temperatures, deep beneath the earth’s crust. Peanut butter contains a lot of carbon and seems to be an ideal instrument to replicate this extreme geological process.

Dan Frost, a geologist at the Bayerisches Geoinstitut, hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the evolution of the earth with this experiment. Compared to our knowledge of deep space, we know very little about the world beneath our feet. Elementary geology teaches us the earth is divided in three layers: the core, the lower and upper mantle and the crust. Their precise composition remains unknown.

Diamond and the formation of the earth

“If we want to better understand how the earth was formed, we also need to understand the different elements that form the earth.” says Dan Frost, geologist at the Bayerisches Geoinstitut. “I am particularly interested in the interaction between the inner part of the planet and the crust.”

According to Frost, an enormous diamond mantle beneath the earth’s crust has slowed the warming-up of the earth and facilitated the evolution of life. Starting from this hypothesis, he started building a simulation mantle in his laboratory.

Frost uses mainly rocks for his experiment. Although, during his research, he also discovered you can make synthetic diamond by compressing peanut butter under extremely high pressure and temperature. After about three weeks, small diamonds, 2 to 3 millimeters big, appeared.

No competition for the diamond sector

Will Frost and his team become competition for the diamond sector? “No, our goal is to make small, synthetic diamonds that can be used as semi-conductors in electronic equipment.” Before you start pillaging your fridge you must know that Frost’s research is no easy feat. Small explosions in the laboratory are considered common. So please don’t try this at home.

Author: Maxine Schepens

Inspirational insights