The Expansion Of The Diamond Market

With the availability of diamond in more sizes and shapes, applications using this versatile material have increased steadily. The reduction of diamond prices also prompted the growth of its existing market. Diamond sales have been increasing for more than four decades, a feat unmatched by the growth in sale of any other material. The upward trend for all other industrial commodities will inevitably plateau in less than a decade (e.g. steel topped the production at around 800 million tons after World War II). This monotonous increase of industrial diamond sales implies that its market is far from being saturated. It would appear that sales for industrial diamond would continue to grow almost without limit due to the constant discoveries of novel diamond applications, provided that the price of diamond materials will continue to decrease due to the improvements in manufacturing efficiency.

Human civilization has been built on the foundation of useful materials available. Thus, wood and stone were the first materials available for prehistoric men. They were used to make tools and shelter for hunters and gatherers as well as agriculture settlers. Then ancient societies found the benefits of extractive metals such as copper, iron, and aluminum. These metals were made into swords and spears, as well as constructed into structures. At the dawn of the industrial revolution, metals were superceded by engineered materials such as plastics. Soon thereafter, utensils and textiles made of polymers and plastics became commonplace. In this modern time, civilization has entered into the silicon age. Computers and electronics are now part of our daily life. However, sometimes these materials are chosen due to current limitation in

Figure 3.5. The relative importance of materials as the foundation of human civilization. Note the rise of diamond in this century.

manufacturability or technical knowledge. Many times they are not the ultimate material that will optimize performance. As diamond has the most extreme properties of all materials, its dominance in functional devices will be inevitable especially with the continual decline in price due to more efficient manufacturability and increase in availability. The Age of Diamond has begun (Fig. 3.5).

The rise in diamond useage as the dominant building blocks of human civilization is not dependent on its abundance as with the other dominant materials in the past. The contribution of diamond to the value of life lies in its prestige and quality. Diamond's dominance as the key element for functions is more due to its enabling capability than to its cost effectiveness. For example, diamond's performance in superabrasives, heat spreaders, radiation windows, acoustic filters, and semiconductor circuitry cannot be substituted by alternative competing materials.

The value and quantity of industrial materials often form an inverse relationship that is representable by a product pyramid. Since diamond is the king of industrial materials, its will become the icing on the cake for the product pyramid. Although diamond's dominance in the materials world is just beginning, diamond superabrasives has already occupied the tip of the representative corner stones of industrial materials (Fig. 3.6).

Quantity-H 250 2.5x104 fed tf

Figure 3.6. The quality-quantity pyramid for standard industrial materials. The three civilization enabling materials that rule in the past, present, and future (iron, silicon, and diamond, respectively) lie exactly on a straight line on the logarithmic scale of a time pyramid (2004).

Quantity-H 250 2.5x104 fed tf

Figure 3.6. The quality-quantity pyramid for standard industrial materials. The three civilization enabling materials that rule in the past, present, and future (iron, silicon, and diamond, respectively) lie exactly on a straight line on the logarithmic scale of a time pyramid (2004).

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment