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Liquid diamond oceans on uranus and neptune

Liquid Diamond Oceans on Uranus and Neptune

Earth-bound research into diamonds and their physical qualities has uncovered the precise melting point of diamond. By researching the melting point of diamond, it is thought that artificial diamonds and their man-made manufacturing process can be fine-tuned and made more effective. The major surprise with the research has been that diamond behaves almost exactly like water when it is going through the freezing and melting process.

Water was thought to be the only compound which expanded when it became frozen into a solid — typically when a material is frozen, it contracts and expands once it is heated until it becomes a liquid. This is why ice floats upon water — now it is understood that diamond behaves in exactly the same way!

Diamond can melt but it needs extremely high pressures as well as extremely high temperatures, which is why the precise melting point of the most valuable gemstone in the world has been so difficult to establish with any precision. When diamond is melted using high temperature, it transforms to graphite (which has a looser crystalline structure -it is used as a lubricant in many industrial processes). When high pressure is applied along with the heat, the diamond melts without becoming graphite — it is truly liquid diamond.

The research results sparked intense speculation about where else in the solar system would liquid diamond be found. More than this, researchers into the orbital anomalies of the outer planets performed a series of calculations on the ice planets which indicated that far from being frozen solid, there was in fact substantial amounts of liquid surround large areas of the planets. The question became, what was liquid under those pressure extremes and the answer is thought to be liquid diamond!

The scenario which is being drawn by the physicists is of oceans of liquid diamond which is extremely dense and widespread, and just as the tides here on earth are affected by the moon and which in turn affects how the earth spins and its path around the sun, the same is happening to Neptune and Uranus. Just as we have icebergs of water floating around the polar regions, there will also be icebergs of solid diamond floating on the liquid diamond seas (remember diamond behaves just like water — when it freezes. i.e. is solid, it is lighter than when in its liquid form).

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