May 27, 2022
7 mins
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Carbon is the sixth element in the periodic table. The basis of all life in our world and also its hardest elemental expression —the diamond. However, what is more fascinating is that even though a diamond is chemically rather simple, creating it at atomic nanoscales is a challenge. A challenge that is open to opportunities and possibilities for industry 4.0.

Chemically, the structural properties of the diamond lattice are responsible for its outstanding mechanical applications  —a fact, understood early on by gem cutters, circa 16th century AD. This led to the first rudimentary cutting tool prototypes featuring small diamonds and consequently heralded the birth of small-scale industrial diamonds. At the turn of the 20th century however, a shortage of diamond abrasives began during World War II, which only eased in the 1950s —courtesy of a scientific breakthrough that allowed the production of lab-grown diamonds. Soon, with consistent R&D, LGDs (lab-grown diamonds) were so thoroughly perfected that they increasingly became the preferred alternative for heavy-duty industrial applications —owing to their availability and affordability in comparison to mined diamonds.

Precision industry possibilities

The dawn of lab-grown diamonds has bolstered the precision industry like nothing else. Since years, the sector has devoted itself to the frantic pursuit of economical technologies that can recreate this process at scale. This rise in demand for industrial-strength diamonds necessitated a new generation of Nuovo diamonds created within plasma reactors to mimic interstellar gas clouds. Thus, M-CVD (Mechanical Grade Chemical Vapour Deposition) diamonds were created specifically to fulfil high strength diamond deliverables up to astonishing sizes (large surface areas) with reduced thickness (thinner than a human hair), at a much lower cost.

Chemically, M-CVD diamonds are purer than their mined counterparts as they are created in a controlled lab environment out of 99.999% pure carbon. Current technological breakthroughs and lab-test results have consistently shown that newly engineered M-CVD diamond tools can provide superior nano-precision as compared to traditional industrial materials.

A hard 10 on Moh’s scale, industrial LGDs used in mono or polycrystalline formats are embedded in saw blades, drill bits, and grinding wheels or ground into a fine powder and made into a "diamond paste" for fine grinding or polishing.

In terms of crystal structures, single-crystal diamonds are promising for microelectromechanical systems (MEMs) because of their low mechanical loss and high environmental damage resistance. However, both single crystal and polycrystalline M-CVD diamonds are subject to tightly controlled growth conditions and stringent quality control procedures resulting in an engineered material that is consistent with the precise predictable properties required for cutting tools, wire drawing, dressing and super-finishing applications.

Ultra-precision machining

In the M-CVD mecha-verse, single crystal diamonds crafted above ground are widely used in precision manufacturing for a profile accuracy and surface finish that is peerless.

Produced in the heart of plasma reactors, M-CVDs feature a combination of extreme wear resistance and excellent chip resistance to dispense high-quality surface finishes on abrasive workpiece materials. They easily outclass mined diamonds due to their inherently consistent and predictable material properties while offering high-hardness and high edge quality for ultra-precision machining operations.

M-CVD technology makes it possible to formulate diamond coatings across versatile surfaces (continuously increasing in range) of various shapes. With M-CVD, it is possible to control the surface properties for high-precision machining.

M-CVDs can also be used to bolster geo-technologies required for high-hardness drilling or grinding. The use of M-CVD diamond-enhanced drills exponentially improves mining performance while significantly minimising wear associated and maintenance costs.

M-CVD diamond coatings can also surface-cover various mechanisms that undergo aggressive friction or are subject to intense environments. They can significantly increase surface smoothness and are wear as well as corrosion resistant. Parts fitted with diamond coatings can materially prolong equipment life, increase efficiency and minimise wear associated costs.

Exhibit A: A manufacturer requests for a surface that requires made-to-order roughness for a given component and the technical drawing features a specification of One μm (micron) —double the width of average human hair. Although hyper-specific, such requirements are a surmountable challenge for Nuovo engineered M-CVD.

Creative custom-tech

Being an engineered material, M-CVD is produced in standard sizes that can reduce fabrication times for tool production. The high chemical purity and consistency also offer potential savings in processing this material.

M-CVDs using Nuovo diamond technology can create altered specifications ultra-precisely, reproducibly and above all, at a reduced reject rate. Featuring not just a robust roster of bespoke formulations, such an endeavour also requires a dedicated guild of engineers, scientists, machining specialists and poly-mechanics to imbibe state-of-the-art experiences across functionality, specificity, performance and reliability, in addition to 100 percent quality control.

Productivity gains can be increased using M-CVD diamonds within automotive industrial machining. More often than not, M-CVD diamonds are employed for asset utilisation as well as reducing cost-per-part transformation requirements. Be it aesthetic or functional, M-CVDs' exceptional properties allow extreme surface customisability.

Supersector applications

Within supersectors such as automation, aerospace, oil and gas as well as bio-medics, increasingly specific applications with excellent surface finishings are needed for precision work, as no other material is capable of operating under extreme conditions. Due to their high-hardness and high melting point, a number of metalworking industries utilise diamond tools for drilling or geotechnical operations requiring high-quality materials as well as reliability.

Within consumer-facing industries, products like low-friction micro bearings that are needed for small mechanical devices such as watches; M-CVDs are capable of delivering extreme abrasion resistance as well as durability. Additionally, wear-resistant moving parts can easily be created using diamond surface coating.

M-CVDs are found to have high-hardness, good wear resistance, low affinity to non-ferrous metals, as well as precision processing aluminium alloy for the making of automotive parts. In addition to this, they also exhibit high processing accuracy which enables the tooltip to become resistant to chip accumulation during the machining process. Since M-CVD cutting tools retain their cutting edge for extended periods of time, they’re ideal for minimising the intervals between tool replacements. In terms of productivity and accuracy, M-CVDs are unmatched.

M- CVD Moonshots

With a robust and wide market-net for technical components that are alloy-made, steel-made or crafted using other synthetic materials, the research-intensive and futuristic applications of industrial diamonds are limitless. Owing to rigorous and continued R&D, LGDs like Nuovo diamonds can feature a purity rate of about 99.99% or greater.

In the foreseeable future for M-CVD products, adding intelligence to the diamond surface is being gradually explored. The ensuing data-sensing capability could allow M-CVDs to take advantage of the 4th industrial revolution, and decrease the impact of cutting tools on the environment by limiting resource wastage.

Nanoscale technology could play an important role in developing materials for future applications with the help of nanoscale sensors added to the CVD diamond surface to measure stresses on materials under high pressure.

As hard as diamonds and flexible as plastic, highly sought-after nanothreads could revolutionise the tooling and machining industry. Ongoing research is anticipating the miracle-grade properties of carbon M-CVD nanothreads that could cater to a range of useful applications for the aerospace industry.

The M-CVD master material

M-CVD diamonds epitomise multi-functional materiality —their extraordinary DNA contains a host of capabilities for meeting needs across demanding applications in diverse fields.

The Superhard M-CVD Nuovo diamonds are specifically developed to provide extraordinary solutions within industrial sectors and new technologies that are unable to extract operational performance levels out of conventional materials. Capitalising on the potential of high-quality, custom made, mecha-verse deliverables, the Superhard M-CVD Nuovo diamond delivers futuristic and carbon-conscious solutions for engineering a better world.

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