For two decades, scientists have discovered more than 3,500 exoplanets located outside our solar system. Many of the exoplanets have a mass of roughly 1-10 times the mass of Earth. Many scientists have suggested that some of these rocky planets may differ in their compositions as compared to Earth.
A new Yale scientist has suggested that rocky planets circling different stars may shroud thick layers of diamond underneath the surface.
Lead researcher Kierstin Daviau said, “A carbon-rich planet likely forms from a material called silicon carbide, but at the high temperatures inside of the planet, that silicon carbide would decompose into silicon and diamond.”
Many of the exoplanets revolve close to their stars, thus leading to high surface temperatures for the planets. As scientists suggest, deep in their interiors, the temperatures likely started off even hotter, easily hot enough to decompose silicon carbide.
Past work by similar scientists demonstrated that silicon carbide experiences a substantial basic change at high weights and temperatures. This auxiliary progress accompanies around a 20% expansion in the thickness of silicon carbide. Any silicon carbide in a planet that did not decay would experience this progress, likely dramatically affecting the inside elements.
Kanani Lee, the study’s principal investigator, said, “Through the experiment, we are beginning to develop a picture of what the interior of a carbon-rich planet might look like.”
During experiments, scientists shrink the samples to very high pressures and then heat them to thousands of degrees with an infrared laser. They then explored pressure and temperature conditions extending to ~2,400 km deep within an Earth-sized planet’s mantle.
Deterioration was distinguished through the presence of jewels in the specimens after they were raised to high weights and temperatures.
Earth’s high oxygen and moderately low carbon content make silicon carbide uncommon. Meteorites have been discovered containing silicon carbide, in any case, demonstrating that silicon carbide forms in our close planetary system.
Scientists noted, “The experiments reveal that under higher pressures, it becomes easier to decompose silicon carbide at lower temperatures. This, they said, suggests there is even a region in Earth’s mantle where any silicon carbide present would decompose.”