The researchers, led by Andrew Tomkins, helped shed light on a long-standing mystery regarding the formation of a particular type of meteorite called ureilites: it is a rocky meteorite with an unusually high content of carbon in the form of graphite. or nanodiamonds. The study authors used advanced electron microscopy techniques to obtain images of fragments of the meteorite, confirming the presence of a “hexagonal diamond”, the so-called lonsdaleite.
According to the researchers, this metal in the meteorite may have formed from a liquid at high temperature and moderate pressure, conditions that would roughly preserve the shape and hexagonal structure of pre-existing graphite. “Nature has therefore given us a process that we can try to replicate in the industrial field,” says Tomkins. “We believe that lonsdaleite can be used to make tiny components – the researcher adds – that can replace those made of graphite.”
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