• Question: Why is diamond so strong?

    Asked by barney to Iain, Jo, Leo, Mariam on 24 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Iain Moal

      Iain Moal answered on 24 Jun 2010:

      Diamond is strong because of the way its chemical bonds link up (see http://newton.ex.ac.uk/research/qsystems/people/sque/diamond/structure/ for a pic). They are arranged in such a way that it is really difficult to break one bond at a time, so each bond acts as a reinforcement of all the others.

    • Photo: Joanna Watson

      Joanna Watson answered on 24 Jun 2010:

      It’s because of the way the atoms inside it are arranged. It is made of carbon, which is the same as lots of other materials like graphite, but the physical properties can be VERY different.

    • Photo: Leo Garcia

      Leo Garcia answered on 24 Jun 2010:

      Diamond is the hardest known natural material, and its name actually comes from the ancient Greek for ‘unbreakable’. They are so hard because of the way that their atoms are bonded to each other. Have a look here:


      Notice that the bonds between the carbon atoms in a diamond are firstly very strong (they are covalent bonds, meaning the atoms share electrons), and are arranged in a rigid 3D network – giving the diamond strength in all directions. There are no weak links, and nowhere for different layers to slide apart from each other (like in graphite, also made of carbon).