If you heat up diamond away from oxygen (air completely) until the solid diamond is now gaseous, what are the gas particles made of? Just the element carbon without a charge?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ The same as for graphite. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Oct 25, 2021 at 21:58
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    $\begingroup$ Diamond will cease to be diamond long before sublimation. $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2021 at 22:08

1 Answer 1


Yes. Since diamond is a covalent network solid, it is made up of nothing but pure carbon atoms. Being a network solid, it is extremely stable (only at high temperatures and pressures in this case). If you have heated it enough to cause it to sublime, then the carbon atoms are in such an excited state to make it impossible for any bonds to form between them. Therefore, you would be left with gaseous monatomic carbon.

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    $\begingroup$ It just occurred to me that I should mention that you would have to have it at very specific conditions to prevent it from turning into graphite - a lower-energy structure. Even then, its melting point would be well over 4000 °C, about 3/4 the temperature of the surface of the sun, which would be an insanely difficult temperature to maintain for long enough to cause the entire diamond sample to sublime. And you wouldn't have to do it in just an non-oxygenated environment, the diamond, being pure carbon, would try to react with a huge variety of other elements if present. $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2021 at 0:10
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not entirely confident that the result would be monatomic carbon in all circumstances. I'm sure a range of small molecules could occur depending on the exact conditions. But this is an empirical question that might actually have been addressed. $\endgroup$
    – matt_black
    Oct 26, 2021 at 9:32

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