Question

What is the hardest rock and what is its compressive strength (PSI)?

Asked by: Ed Mendoza

Answer

Diamond, since it is a natural mineral, would be considered a 'rock.' Diamond has a bulk modulus (reciprocal of compressibility) of 443 GigaPascals (GPa). One GigaPascal is equal to 14503.77 PSI. Therefore, the incompressibility of diamond is about 6.425 million PSI or 437,200 Atmospheres.

Diamond was once thought to be the hardest and the most incompressible material on earth, either natural or man-made. Although diamond is still considered the hardest, the bulk modulus of the metal osmium has recently been found to be 476 GPa. That is over 7% more incompressible than diamond, but it is never found pure enough in nature to challenge the diamond.

Answered by: Scott Wilber, President, ComScire - Quantum World Corporation

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Science Quote

'There must be no barriers for freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors.'

J. Robert Oppenheimer
(1904-1966)
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