Can You Smash a Diamond with a Hammer?

Diamond is the hardest substance in the world, but even with this in mind, it can still be vulnerable to a hammer blow.

In general, diamonds have varying degrees of tenacity or toughness. The quality and perfection of the cubic lattice structure influence the tenacity level. Therefore, diamonds have weak points in their structures, making it possible to break them with a hammer.

You can break a diamond with a hammer as follows:

  • Select a diamond with internal inclusions and weaknesses
  • Place the diamond on a strong surface
  • Deliver a heavy blow to strike the weakest point on the lattice of the diamond

I’ll explore more below.

Can you Break a Diamond with a Hammer?

Toughness reflects the ability of a material to resist breakage from impacts or falls. But yes, you can smash a diamond with a hammer. The following factors depict diamonds’ vulnerability to breakage and why you can brutally smash them with a hammer.

The Geometry of The Diamond

diamond's bond

The diamond structure has perfect cleavage, making it easy to break if the impact is directed to the right spot.

The macroscopic cleavage of a diamond presents its fragility. It is worth mentioning that hardness and strength are different aspects. Diamond is hard, but a hammer is strong. However, it is still challenging to break a diamond with a hammer, but that might be the only choice if you don’t have diamond cutters.

The internal structure consists of chemically bonded carbon atoms. The carbon atoms are arranged symmetrically or in lattice structures, and it is difficult to break the carbon atoms.

The Number of Atoms per Unit Volume

The cubic lattice structure of a diamond is exceptional because it contains the highest number of atoms and bonds per unit volume. That forms the basis for a diamond’s hardness. The cubic latticework heightens the immobility of the carbon atoms.

How to Smash a Diamond with a Hammer

As aforesaid, breaking a diamond with a regular hammer or sledgehammer is not a walkover task, but it is doable.

Use a lot of energy to generate enough force to split the diamond. Otherwise, the diamond will remain still. Let’s break a diamond.

Step 1: Select an Easy-To-Break Diamond

Various types of diamonds exist with varying degrees of tenacity or toughness. Tenacity determines or ranks the stability of the diamond, a key factor when breaking the diamond with a hammer.

So, get a diamond with internal inclusions and weaknesses to simplify your work.

Step 2: Surface Selection

Judging from the hammer’s force and the tenacity of the diamond, you need a stiff surface to strike your diamond. I recommend setting the diamond on a thick metallic sheet or a stone. You also clamp it.

Step 3: Aiming the Hammer Blow

To make your efforts productive, aim the blow to inflict maximum pressure on the weakest internal lattice point in the diamond.

Notes: Keep the diamond still even after the hammerhead impact. Predictably, the hammer blow will weaken if the diamond slides away from the hammer blow. As advised, clamp the diamond or use any other plausible means at your disposal to ensure the steadiness of the diamond.

FAQs

Do All Diamonds Have the Same Degree of Tenacity and Hardness?

No. The quality and perfection of the cubic lattice structure of diamonds determine the hardness and tenacity. But the quality of the carbon-carbon bonds varies due to climatic factors like temperature. (1)

What is the Difference Between the Hardness and Toughness of Diamonds?

Hardness reflects the susceptibility of a material to scratching. Contrastingly, toughness or tenacity measures the vulnerability of a substance to breakage. So, diamonds are very hard (hence used to scratch other materials without sustaining bruises) but not very tough – that’s why you can smash them with a hammer. (2)




References
(1) carbon-carbon bonding – https://www.nature.com/articles/463435a
(2) tenacity – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/materials-science/tenacity

Video References

House of Light

The Action Lab

About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gI realized early on carpentry was a huge passion for me and I’ve stayed in the industry for over 20 years now. This gives me a unique ability to really be able to tell you what the best tools and recommendations are. I’m not only a carpenter but I also like machinery and anything to do with electrics. One of my career paths starting off was as an apprentice electrician so I also have a lot of experience with electrical products and anything related.