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Stones on Demand


#1


What intrigues me here is the prospect of simulating ALL stones. The
basic idea is to take biomass (and for Mother Nature, any old biomass
can be made into stone it seems) and add heat + pressure. All kinds
of organic and inorganic mixes get piled up on the bottom of lakes,
oceans etc. Add pressure and heat and you get solid rock. Is that
kind of cultured stone the future of our land fills?

More fancifully, what is the state of the art for “silica aerogel”?
Can the sand of Fort McMurray be turned into silica aerogel building
blocks? How well does this “bubbly stone” technology translate into
uses for BC volcanic and glacial dusts? I don’t have BC pumice yet
but I do have bubbly scoria from nearby mountains.

Lots more R&D needed.
PtP


#2

The process for making aerogel uses silicone liquids and what is
called a sol gel process to make a rubbery solid which is then heated
to 600 deg C to burn off the organic and watery parts. A sol gel is
rather like non-drip paint inasmuch as it has a loose crystal
structure bonded by water and adding a suitable reagent will set it
into a proper solid with an opal type structure, which when fired
shrinks and solidifies with a high porosity (up to 99%) When making
molds for these blocks they have to be careful what they use as the
molding compound can be reacted by the process so things like
silicone rubber, certain plastics and any quartz based investment
plaster are out.

In short, you cant use sand or bubbly volcanic rock for this.
However, your local bubbly rock may be brilliant for use as a cement
for radioactive waste or heavy metal waste containment so have a
word with your local nuclear power station or industrial plating
works!!! Vapour deposition is favoured for making diamonds these
days, along with a lot of other materials used for semiconductors and
the like. Basically it gives better results and higher purity but if
you want to make a diamond out of your favourite tree, then the high
pressure bit is favoured as you can use any source of carbon.

Nick


#3
The process for making aerogel uses silicone liquids and what is
called a sol gel process to make a rubbery solid which is then
heated to 600 deg C to burn off the organic and watery parts. A sol
gel is rather like non-drip paint inasmuch as it has a loose
crystal structure bonded by water and adding a suitable reagent
will set it into a proper solid with an opal type structure, which
when fired shrinks and solidifies with a high porosity (up to 99%)
When making molds for these blocks they have to be careful what
they use as the molding compound can be reacted by the process so
things like silicone rubber, certain plastics and any quartz based
investment plaster are out. 

says aerogels can also be made from alumina, chromia, tin oxide and
carbon. Who knows what minerals will be used in these synthetic
bubbly stones as material science R&D proceeds?

Mother Nature makes bubbly stone. Is there any synthetic bubbly
stone chemists make now or may make in the future, which cannot be
found somewhere in the cosmos amongst billions of stars x billions of
galaxies?

You know the old trick of pressing an otherwise fragile egg shell
between your palms. It withstands great force. Isn’t it the shape of
the bubbles which gives bubbly stone its strength? Are "Bucky Balls"
so strong because of the C in them or because of their shape?

There is great variety in the volcanic dusts I am prospecting here
in the mountains around BC’s Fraser Valley. Some of it is considered
to be “graphitic”. Some of it contains a very fine material and toxic
which I would call soot (my fingers are still swollen from carelessly
handling some of it). “Fly ash” from industry is also being made into
synthetic stones now. Some BC volcanic dusts will have future uses in
artificial stone making I expect.

PtP


#4

Questions below are for discussion. I don’t know the answers.

In reading about synthetic diamonds I note the basic ingredients of
extreme heat and pressure. Does the same apply to synthetic rubies
and emeralds?

Isn’t that what turns just about any fine loose sediment, organic or
not, into stone? In the future, will we have machines which apply
temperature and pressure to any and all garbage to make building
blocks? Could some of them be fluffed up into pumice-like stones?

I have a puzzlement here. An outcropping of about 50 strata which I
think are marine sediments from about 100 mya. A few are strata of
loose earth. What prevented their solidification?

PtP


#5

Peter, I will be happy to discuss the lithification processes that
occur to form the geologic record (strata/sedimentary; igneous;
metamorphic, etc.) with you, but I don’t think that orchid is the
proper forum for a geologic history discussion. my degrees are in
geology and i can at least give you some email me offlne

john
John Atwell Rasmussen
Rasmussen Gems and Jewelry
www.rasmussengems.com


#6
An outcropping of about 50 strata which I think are marine
sediments from about 100 mya. A few are strata of loose earth. What
prevented their solidification? 

In simple terms (not because I think you need simple terms, but
because that’s the only kind I can offer on geological matters),
their location, ie an outcropping means there is a lack of rock
above, pushing down on the layers and by the same token, a lack of
geothermal heat. The deeper such layers get pushed down into the
earth, the more heat and pressure they are subjected to and therefore
the more likely they’ll be to turn into solid rock.

Google the rock cycle.

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk


#7
In reading about synthetic diamonds I note the basic ingredients
of extreme heat and pressure. Does the same apply to synthetic
rubies and emeralds? 

No. Flame fusion synthetic corundum is made at normal ambient
pressure. Hydrothermal processes often need some pressure, but it is
not “extreme” pressure.

Isn't that what turns just about any fine loose sediment, organic
or not, into stone? In the future, will we have machines which
apply temperature and pressure to any and all garbage to make
building blocks? Could some of them be fluffed up into pumice-like
stones? 

In a sense, building blocks are already being made of recycled
porcelain and glass. Tiles and countertops are available on the
market.

I have a puzzlement here. An outcropping of about 50 strata which
I think are marine sediments from about 100 mya. A few are strata
of loose earth. What prevented their solidification? 

Rock formation from sediments requires a binder or cement. Sometimes
the cement is a clay mineral, typical in many sandstones. Iron
minerals (carbonates or hydrous oxides) are common in sandstone,
too. (Brownstone is an example.) Calcium carbonate is a common
cementing mineral. Some sandstones accrete silica in alignment with
the crystal structure of individual sand grains to the point that
crystal faces are present.

The loose sediments you mention are probably just a sign of lack of
a cementing mineral. By the way, marine sediments sometimes contain
"connate water" that is part of the original sea water that remains
within the formation. This water forms a solvent that allows transfer
of minerals from one area to another, so zinc and lead ores are
concentrated in sedimentary rock that is porous enough to provide
space for the new compounds to be precipitated out. Limestones are
such rocks. Shaly rocks consist of consolidated clay minerals, so
they are in a sense “self cementing.”

Fascinating subject!

Dick Davies


#8

Hi Peter,

I am going over some old posts on Orchid today, and came across this
one. There is a story about a visit to the labs where Ramaura
cultured rubies were grown: http://www.eclecticlapidary.com

To answer your question, these rubies were grown under lab
conditions that created great pressure and temperature during the
growth phase. The other key is the exact chemical mix that the rubies
crystallize from. This particular type of cultured crystal is the
only one not using a seed crystal as a starting point. They called
Ramaura ruby cultured, because it is identical to natural, but
produced in a lab.

There’s a pretty good explanation of the flame fusion and the pulled
techniques used in making synthetic rubies here:
http://www.answers.com/topic/synthetic-ruby

To answer another of your questions, the equipment to produce the
Ramaura rubies took a very large laboratory with perfectly
controlled conditions. Even so, not every batch produced cuttable
stones, and you could hold the total production of a batch in your
hands. So space, energy consumption, the development of equipment and
processes to do it, the time required to form a large object and the
economic value vs the cost would preclude attempts to make other
natural stone.

And no, it couldn’t be ‘fluffed up’ into pumice-like material.
That’s produced naturally by the presence of gases in molten lava
that cools.

I can’t exactly answer your question about the marine strata, but
you partly answered it yourself. They aren’t solid stone because they
aren’t a relatively uniform material formed under conditions of
great heat and pressure, but by the accumulation of sediments in
natural bodies of water over the millenia.

Hope that helps answer your questions,
Carol


#9

Thanks for the feedback.

As you note too, there are more forces than temperature and pressure
in rock formation. Bubbling is another, and potentially of great
economic value. When the rocket scientists were discussing
(seriously) how high altitude balloons might be put into orbit and
beyond, I joking suggested that they take the sand from the Alberta
Tar Sands and make light but strong bubbly stone building blocks out
of it, the ultimate criterion being strong stones yet light enough to
float in air. Then they could build the Great Pyramid of Alberta to
60 miles which is NEO, near earth orbit. Hot air and hot air
balloons?

I still wonder if all oil and tar is really organic or "fossil fuel"
in origin. Could the necessary elements not come up in magmas from
great depths and get turned into organic molecules by natural
processes, resistant to rock formation because temperature and
pressure will not turn tar into solid rock?

PtP


#10
I still wonder if all oil and tar is really organic or "fossil
fuel" in origin. Could the necessary elements not come up in magmas
from great depths and get turned into organic molecules by natural
processes, resistant to rock formation because temperature and
pressure will not turn tar into solid rock? 

It is very interesting that you mentioned it. In my gemological
studies I came across a description of 2 phase inclusions when liquid
phase contained petroleum compounds. That piqued my curiosity so I
dug
dipper into the subject. What I have found is that term "fossil fuel"
is total and complete canard.

The term was proposed by Lomonosov, when he first encounter the oil,
but even he rejected the term later when he got a bit more familiar
with the substance.

The reaction which combines hydro-carbons into oil belongs to the
class of reactions known as endothermic ( requiring heat ).
Thermodynamical analysis shows that one must spend more energy
creating oil, than one can extract from it later on. That is why we
do
not have synthetic oil on the market.

Non-organic theory of oil formation states that oil is constantly
replenished inside the Earth when high temperature required for
reaction is available. And it is amazing to watch and hear supposedly
educated people mindlessly using term “fossil fuel” when there is not
even a shred of evidence that oil came from rotting dinosaur flesh,
and a lot of evidence that oil is the product of geological processes
that are going on even now.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#11
And it is amazing to watch and hear supposedly educated people
mindlessly using term "fossil fuel" when there is not even a shred
of evidence that oil came from rotting dinosaur flesh, and a lot of
evidence that oil is the product of geological processes that are
going on even now. 

Fossil fuel theory is not that oil came from rotting dinosaur flesh,
but that fuels such as oil came from the fossilised remains of
phytoplankton and zooplankton. Coal is thought to have been the
result of fossilised plant matter such as trees falling into swamps.

There is a newer theory that supports the original poster’s query,
that so called fossil fuels may actually be the result of geological
activity. I’m sure someone will come up with the answer at some
point.

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk


#12
That is why we do not have synthetic oil on the market. 

We do have synthetic oil on the market. Some of the very best motor
oil is 100% synthetic. When I rode a motor bike, the recommended oil
for my bikes were synthetics.

Helen
UK


#13

there is synthetic oil on the market, among others, EXXON produces
synthetic motor oil. during WWII Germany made gasoline and other
"petroleum" products from coal.

John
John Atwell Rasmussen
Rasmussen Gems and Jewelry
www.rasmussengems.com