Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Miles. Miles Wonders, “Can you make peanut butter turn into diamond?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Miles!
Have you ever seen a diamond? They‘re the sparkling, clear gems in a lot of jewelry. Diamonds have a special place in many cultures. They stand for strength, truth, and love. Many people give diamonds as gifts. The stones are rare and often expensive.
Have you ever WONDERed where diamonds come from? It takes many years for them to form. They’re created with extreme heat and pressure in the Earth’s upper mantle. Deep volcanic eruptions bring them to Earth’s surface. These eruptions are rare, which is part of why diamonds are so valuable. We have to wait for these eruptions to get more diamonds. Or at least, we used to.
Some people claim diamonds can be made from everyday household items. For example, one recent online video gave directions for making diamond using peanut butter! The directions were to heat a piece of coal, coat it in peanut butter, and leave it in a bowl of ice overnight. Do you believe it? Can you turn peanut butter into a diamond?
Don’t believe everything you see online! No, those steps won’t leave you with a shiny new diamond. However, a scientist in Germany did recently make diamonds out of peanut butter! How did he do it?
Scientist Dan Frost realized that peanut butter contains one of the main ingredients for diamonds--carbon. In fact, all organic matter on Earth contains carbon. Frost knew that processes in the upper mantle stripped carbon from sunken rocks to create diamonds. That’s where he got the idea to strip carbon from peanut butter to make his own.
The process was messy. However, at the end of it, Frost had used heat and pressure in his lab to turn carbon from peanut butter into diamonds! Will peanut butter diamonds replace natural diamonds in jewelry? That’s unlikely. Labs across the world already produce man-made diamonds, and their process is much less messy than Frost’s.
However, the discovery that carbon from peanut butter can be turned into diamonds could have other uses. Many industries, like automotive and mining, use diamonds for cutting or polishing other materials. Frost is hopeful his discovery will lead to super-strong diamonds for these uses.
Would you like a diamond made from peanut butter? Or would you rather just spread the peanut butter on a sandwich? What other foods might we turn into valuable gemstones? Could we turn jam into rubies? Spinach into emeralds? What do you think?
Standards: NGSS.PS1.A, NGSS.PS1.B, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2,