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13 March 2014 11:08 am ,
Vol. 343 ,
In the shadow of the crisis in Crimea, Ukrainian legislators are weighing a pair of science and education bills that...
Researchers dependent on government funding would face a flat future under the White House's $3.9 trillion budget...
Reservoirs of cells that harbor HIV DNA woven into human chromosomes have become the bane of researchers trying to cure...
Geochemists have now incorporated in their models some details of the way naturally acidic rainwater dissolves rock...
Schizophrenia is a devastating mental disorder that afflicts about 1% of the world's population at one time or another...
Surface tension is a force to be reckoned with, especially if you are small. It enables a water strider to skate along...
- 13 March 2014 11:08 am , Vol. 343 , #6176
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ScienceShot: Shaving a Diamond
29 November 2010 1:49 pm
How do you cut the hardest thing on Earth? Jewelers know it can be done; they've been cutting diamonds for centuries with other diamonds. Materials scientists just didn't know why this worked. Now they do, thanks to a new computer simulation of two diamonds rubbing against each other under high pressure. According to the model, published online yesterday in Nature Materials, carbon atoms on one diamond (left arrow) latch onto carbon atoms poking out from the other diamond (curved arrow) and briefly pull them along, breaking and reforming atomic bonds as they go. This creates an amorphous surface with liquid-like properties, which allows the diamond to be cut. The findings could lead to a new generation of amorphous diamond coatings on objects such as car pistons, which could rub against each other at high speeds without wearing down and with minimal lubrication.
See more ScienceShots.