Watch A Diamond Burn In Pure Oxygen

It takes a lot to make a diamond burn — but it can be done. Watch these people prank a Nobel Prize winner, while demonstrating that diamonds are made of carbon and can burn like carbon.


You can’t get a diamond to burn under normal conditions, but scientists aren’t limited to normal conditions. And what’s less normal than burning a Nobel laureate’s engagement ring? As you can see, it’s possible to get a diamond to burn by surrounding it with pure oxygen.

I’ve seen this kind of demonstration, but these guys add a nice twist. The “exhaust” tube from the burning chamber leads to a jar of lime water. Lime is calcium hydroxide, Ca(OH)2, and when the carbon dioxide from the burning diamond gets forced into the water, the two combine to form calcium carbonate.

Calcium carbonate is what makes up egg shells and pearls. It’s also used as an antacid, so what they’re making is a very costly way to settle your stomach. And Harry Kroto is a very good sport.

[Source: The Royal Institution]



Diamonds make antacid,

They are all I need to sooth me,

They can stop bloating and burp me,

They’ll stop reflux in the night,

I’ve no fear that they might hurt me.

Diamonds make antacid,

Light one up and then lime it,

Grind it, press it and swallow it,

I can burn ev’ry part,

No excess acid fill in my gut to hurt me.

I don’t need Pepto,

For what good will Pepto do me?

Diamonds never lie to me,

After the heat’s on,

The heartburn’s gone.