THE IDENTITY OF DIAMONDS AND CHARCOAL.
Public attention lias recently been specially directed to the fact that the diamond is but a crystalline form of charcoal. We referred a year or two back to some very interesting experiments, by which Lavoisier had originally demonstrated this, and which, at the time of our reference to the matter, were explained by Professor Hoscoe. In view of the interest that has been awakened in the subject, it may be worth while to recall those erperiments to mind. Lavoisier first of all subjected a diamond to intense heat by means of a powerful lens. The stone gradually disappeared. It simply evaporated, and the experimenter proceeded to ascertain what was the nature of the evaporation and what was the product yielded by the process, that is to saja First, however, he tried the effect of subjecting a similar stone to a lower degree of heat. He found that only a part of the diamond, about twentyfive per cent had vanished, and that the residue was coated with a layer of sooty matter. This appeared to indicate that the diamond had been converted into this soot or carbon by simply subjecting it to beat. Acting on this suggestion he evaporated another diamond in a carefully measured volume of air, and on testing the contents of the vessel in which the process had taken place, it was found that the resulting gas was identical with that which would have been produced by a similar combustion of pure carbon. The dia mond, that is to say, had become resolved into carbonic acid gas, just as the charcoal would have done. This result explained what had hitherto been an altogether inexplicable fact, that the diamond would not yield to any degree of heat when surrounded by charcoal. The fact was that the charcoal intercepted the oxygen which was essential to the conversion of the stone into gas. —“ Globe. ”
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