I'm amazed to read that candlelight isn't just the soft, romantic mood-setter or emergency lighting source I'd always considered it to be. The Daily Mail reports:
Scientists have shown that a flickering flame is studded with millions of tiny diamonds.
Roughly 1.5 million of the twinkling gems are created every second.
Sadly, for those whose eyes are lighting up the thought of making a fortune, the jewels are so small that up to 300,000 would fit on the head of a pin.
And they disappear in the blink of an eye.
. . .
Wuzong Zhou, a professor of chemistry, said: ‘A colleague from another university said to me: "Of course, no one knows what a candle flame is actually made of."
‘I told him I believed science could explain everything eventually, so I decided to find out.’
The professor invented a filter that allowed him to successfully extract particles from the centre of the flame, where temperatures top 1,400C, and then examined them.'
To his surprise, he discovered that the carbon in the candle wax had formed all four types of pure carbon, including diamonds and graphite, or pencil lead.
Pure carbon can make very different structures depending on how the atoms are arranged and how they bond to each other.
Professor Zhou said: ‘This was a surprise because each form is usually created under different conditions.
‘Unfortunately, the diamond particles are burned away in the process and converted into carbon dioxide, but this will change the way we view a candle flame forever.’
The professor now plans to examine barbecue flames, to determine if they also contain fledgling diamonds - and if they gild the burgers and sausages that are eaten afterwards.
There's more at the link.
To think that as I sit here, staring at a candle flame, one and a half million minuscule gems are being created and destroyed every second . . . that's just mind-blowing!