Is it possible to burn diamonds? © iStock

Is it possible to burn diamonds?

You can shine like a diamond, but do go too close to the light...

Asked by: Lucie Smatova, Loughborough


Yes. Diamonds are made from pure carbon, and carbon will burn in an oxygen atmosphere to produce carbon dioxide. However, you needn’t worry about leaving a diamond in the sun. It would take a temperature of 700-900°C before it started to burn, since the carbon atoms in a diamond are in a tight three-dimensional array that’s very hard to disrupt.


Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.