An Alberta teenager has reportedly discovered a new way to extract diamonds that might otherwise be destroyed by current harvesting techniques.
Hamdi Ali is a 17-year-old high school student and a participant in the University of Alberta’s WISEST program, which is designed to encourage women to explore different scientific fields.
Ali’s research was conducted under University researchers, Graham Pearson and Margo Regier, the former well known for his path breaking studies of super-deep diamonds and water in Earth’s mantle, the reports state.
“I didn’t really know anything about geology,” Ali was quoted by a news report. “So it was a little disconcerting when I first saw the SELFRAG and realized I was going to be working with it.”
That machine, Ali explained, is “a high-voltage electronic disaggregation device, which sounds pretty fancy, but it just means that it destroys rocks using 200,000 volts of electricity.” It can also harvest diamonds that would otherwise be destroyed by established extraction methods, Ali soon discovered.
The news report states to test this, Ali began by X-raying a piece of rock to show it had diamonds in it before cutting it into two halves. One was then crushed with industry standard mechanical vibrating plates, destroying the diamonds inside. For the other half, Ali used a SELFRAG machine, shooting high-voltage pulses to break down the rock.
She also made a presentation in front of diamond industry geologists.