Make Diamonds from Carbon Dioxide in Your Breath?

What if you could make a diamond from thin air? Diamonds are made from carbon, so what if you used the carbon dioxide in the air, compressed it together, and made a diamond? How much air would you need? Could you even do it with your own breath, and make a completely unique, personal diamond for yourself or a loved one? This led to the back of the envelope question at dinner last night:

How many human breaths would it take to capture enough carbon dioxide to make an average-size diamond?

Answer: 20 breaths

36 mg of CO2 per exhaled breath (

…which is 10 mg of Carbon (CO2 is 30% carbon by weight:

1 karat diamond is 200 mg of pure carbon (

So, about 20 full breaths = 200 mg of Carbon = 1 diamond


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Tito Jankowski lives in San Francisco. He's a public speaker, biotech hacker, and post-hydrocarbon expert. He is the co-founder of Impossible Labs, expediting the post-hydrocarbon economy through partnerships between startups and Fortune 500 corporations. Find him on LinkedIn. Email Tito at blog@titojankowski.comPublic PGP key. PGP Fingerprint: 5A4F 4C5C E8B7 20C3 2867 9100 C56C 881F 13AE 02D7 EFF Guide to PGP Security

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