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From: (Don Wilkins)
Subject: Re: Growing Diamonds -  A Thought
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 1996 12:05:42 GMT

On Tue, 13 Aug 1996 15:50:32 -0700, The Polymath
<> wrote:
>Uncle Al Schwartz wrote:
>>If cavitation eats propellers and sonoluminescence creates
>>hellish microvolumes with a wisp of ultrasound, then maybe
>>it is time for the fat lady to sing, plasma-wise.
>>... Yoo hoo, de
>>Beers!  Our company is ready to be quietly bought out now!
>What makes you think you haven't been beaten to the patent?  GE
>reportedly found a cheap method for synthesizing diamonds some
>years ago.  Agents from DeBeers were seen arriving at and leaving
>GE's corporate headquarters.  Subsequent R&D was dropped and the
>project sank without trace.

Absolute hogwash spoken with no knowledge of the facts and probably

Comments like this are about as dumb as the reoccurring story (usually
when gas prices peak) about the auto manufacturer which developed this
wonderful carburetor which will get 100 miles to the gallon but the
patents have been bought up by the oil industry. The facts are that
for a modest sum you can get a copy of any patent from the US patent
office AND if a patent isn't pursued diligently by the inventor it
will become available to the public. SO all you entrepreneurs can line
up at the patent office and for pocket change get a copy of those
patents and then invite DeBeers to visit your office.  This will get
you about the same return as the frequent $$$$$CASH$$$$$ posts you see
on the Internet and about the same return GE would have received for
this hypothetical visit.

The diamond synthesizing program at GE is alive and well. The business
is profitable and diamond synthesis research has been active at GE for
over 40 years. The successful production of industrial diamonds was
first announced at the General Electric Research Laboratory in 1954. A
factory was built in Ohio shortly thereafter and is still in

DeBeers of course is also a major player in the manufacture of
"man-made" industrial diamonds and I suspect that the industrial
diamond market far exceeds the gem market.

It always amazes me when I see what the figment of someone's
imagination can proclaim as fact.

From: (Don Wilkins)
Subject: Re: Growing Diamonds -  A Thought
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 1996 12:05:47 GMT

On 14 Aug 1996 01:49:20 GMT, Potter) wrote:
>In <01bb8978$345b4c60$e1ef9bce@frankenstein> "Daniel Chenault"
><> writes: 
>>Uh... 'scuse me. Have either of you gentlemen ever heard of
>>diamonds"? They are man-made diamonds. Been around for quite a
>Carboloy, a Detroit company, made industrial grade
>diamonds back in the 50's by setting off explosions
>in a surplus WWII battleship gun barrel.
>The company was acquired by G.E.

Carboloy was a division of GE in the early 50's when I started work at
the GE Research Laboratory. Carboloy was never successful at making
industrial grade diamonds by setting off explosions in gun barrels. I
know of know evidence that they even made traces of diamonds.

>Diamonds are also grown by diffusion.

Diamonds have been grown using high-pressure & high-temperatures using
an appropriate but proprietary flux (the first successful technique)
and by low temperature, low pressure methods where the diamond is
grown by decomposition of a gas and epitaxy crystal growth on an
appropriate substrate. I suppose either process could be classified as
growth by diffusion.

The first method is generally used to produce the crystals used in
grinding, cutting, polishing, etc. The latter method in general is
used to produce substrates for the semiconductor industry.

Neither method is used for the commercial production of gemstones
although gemstones can be produced by either method.. The reason that
gemstones are not produced by either process is a matter of economics
not as some would have you believe some sinister plot on the part of
large corporations to use devious methods to make a profit. I have
held in my hand synthetic diamonds over a carat unfortunately such
gems are too costly to make and probably never will appear as a
marketable item. The money is in industrial diamonds, "the little
thingies" are indeed quite profitable.

A conspiracy theory just doesn't apply even though some would have you
believe such theories. Most of the original patents have expired by
now and are available for a pittance. So have at it if you really
believe that there is some collusion going on. The last patent I got
from the US Patent Office cost 50 cents, a modest start up cost for
such an enterprise.

Subject: Re: Growing Diamonds -  A Thought
From: (Don Wilkins)
Date: Aug 15 1996

On Wed, 14 Aug 1996 10:22:29 -0700, Uncle Al Schwartz <>

>The Polymath wrote:
>> Daniel Chenault wrote:
>> >Uh... 'scuse me. Have either of you gentlemen ever heard of "industrial
>> >diamonds"? They are man-made diamonds. Been around for quite a while...
>> Yes, indeed, but they are of no concern to DeBeers.  We are speaking
>> of gem grade diamonds.
>Industrial diamonds are synthesized by high explosive shock 
>compression of carbon black and high temperature/high pressure 
>catalyzed growth to the tune of several million carats of grit 
>annually.  The structural discontinuities of industrial diamond, 
>as is or sintered, make for a tough lump.  Gem diamond is 
>brittle.  CVD grit production is not economical.
>Sumitomo grows lovely gem diamond (IIA) in a full belt apparatus 
>for dicing into heat spreaders.  CVD growth of millimeter thick 
>diamond plate (heat spreaders, travelling wave tube supports, 
>etc.) is well commercialized.
>The CVD process is expensive, slow, and inefficient.  It is the 
>only apparent hope for hetero-epitaxial film fabrication and 
>free-form constructs.  Homo-growth gives a plague of twinning.  
>Certain diamond oligarchies view gem fabrication with an 
>Officially jaundiced eye.
>Engineers are in charge of the research.  Nobody is allowed to be 
>clever - who'd be stupid enough to award grant money to a risky 
>venture?  Look over the Web.  There are more than 500 sites with 
>homepages.  There is hardly a spec of original research in any of 
>it, just legions of degreed bean counters plodding toward another 
>decimal place and a more fanciful manifold sheaf of differential 
>equations to model the system:  exponentiating complexity without 
>understanding or enlightenment. 
>When everybody thinks the same thoughts, nobody thinks at all.
>(After GE told Tracey Hall to go to hell, they used his 
>tetrahedral anvil press to grow a diamond from peanut butter.  
>It was the last recorded time anybody had any fun down in the 

I don't often disagree with Uncle Al but in this case he is wrong.

GE did not tell Tracy to go to hell. Tracy was part of the team
working on diamond synthesis but left of his own volition. Yes there
was some friction on the team but it is what one might expect when
several top performers are working on the same project. The credit for
a significant scientific accomplishment needed to be spread over a
number of individual contributors and some felt that their
contribution was more significant than others. Not surprising that
some of the team members left for other pastures and also not
surprising that there were some internal maneuvers to establish more
credit than may have been deserved. Tracy was one of those who left
and developed a version of a press which apparently did not violate
GE's patents. The press used at the lab never was "Tracy's". Aside
from the fact that he was only a team member and not necessarily the
major contributor he as well as every other scientist at the GE
Research Laboratory signed a pre-employment agreement which stated
rather clearly that any results of research were the property of the
General Electric Company. I know this for a fact because I signed one
of those agreements. In return GE deposited a check for our benefit
each month and created a fully funded pension plan long before the
government deemed it necessary to pass laws protecting pension funds.
Forty years later I am taking advantage of that pension fund.

Tracy worked under the same agreement and elected to go elsewhere. Yes
there were some bad feelings but establishing blame would be
difficult. This is not to indicate that Tracy was not an important
member of the group but to state that it was his press and that GE
used his press after telling Tracy to "go to hell" is contrary to the

I would classify it more of a divorce where there is "his" story,
"her" story, and the actual true story.

GE did not go on to use "his anvil press" as I recall the tetrahedral
anvil press was created by Tracy after he left GE for greener pastures
in Utah but at any rate Tracy's tetrahedral anvil press was not the
device used by GE.

Yes indeed they made diamonds from peanut butter as well as many other
"unusual" carbon containing materials.  Some of these starting
materials were used for a "lark" some were truly scientific
investigations. It was not the last time anyone had fun down in "the
diamond mine" as the facility was called. As one who was not a member
of the diamond group but one who had access to this highly restricted
area and who had several personal friends in the group I can assure
you that it was not a situation of all work and no play in the
"diamond mine" on many occasions and for many years after the peanut
butter episode.

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