Diamonds dancing in a candle flame
Discovery could revolutionise the way we produce diamonds
Changes the way we look at candle flames forever
The magic and romance of candlelight, the way candles bring a sparkle to our lives, might be finding some scientific explanation according to recent research. Throwing a little light on candles, and why they fascinate us so much, a report from Professor Wuzong Zhou of St Andrew’s University, Scotland, published in Chemical Communications Journal reveals that an astonishing 1.5 million tiny diamond nanoparticles are created in a candle flame every second it burns.
Zhou created a new technique of sampling particles from the centre of the flame, something not previously possible. He said, "Unfortunately the diamond particles are burned away in the process, and converted into carbon dioxide, but this will change the way we view a candle flame forever". There is currently no way to extract the diamond particles, but with development the technique could lead to a more environmentally friendly and cheaper way of producing industrial diamonds.
The renowned scientist Michael Faraday in his celebrated 19th century lectures on “The Chemical History of a Candle” said in an 1860 address to the flame: “You have the glittering beauty of gold and silver, and the still higher lustre of jewels, like the ruby and diamond; but none of these rival the brilliancy and beauty of flame. What diamond can shine like flame?”
Perhaps this goes some way to explaining why illuminating flames and candlelit settings are so entrancing, and why they enhance our perceptions of the beauty of the moment and of the people in it.
Just think, millions of tiny diamonds dancing before our eyes!
Who knew what mysterious hidden jewels were forming, shimmering and dissolving, hidden in plain sight in a candle flame!