# Why is my ♦ hammer (i.e. diamond) so durable, but it can burn? [closed]

For those confused about the title, there's a joke that every moderator has a "diamond hammer" (diamond from the little ♦ by the username). In a chat discussion, it was brought to my attention that a diamond can burn (which makes total sense because it's pure carbon) after I got a notification in orange in the topbar of SE.

Anyway my question is why can something so durable be able to burn? I would imagine that there would be a relationship between flammability and durability, especially since metal cannot burn.* Is it just a coincidence that most people think hard == inflammable? Why can diamond burn?

*It can burn when oxidized IIRC.

• It doesn't really surprise me, as diamond is pure carbon in a densely packed crystal lattice. By adding enough heat you'll release carbon atoms from the lattice, and when oxygen is present CO2 will form. It'll take a lot of heat though, I guess (that's why this is only a comment, not an answer, although I'd be glad to make it into one if you think it's sufficient). Apr 16 '14 at 21:16
• This question appears to be more about the chemistry of diamonds than the "earth science" aspects of it. Apr 17 '14 at 22:15
• Yeah, this would definitely sit better at chemistry.stackexchange.com than here, it's got nothing to do anything geological, really. Also, I find the joke at the start kind of more distracting and confusing than funny, but maybe that's just me. Apr 18 '14 at 1:15
• This question appears to be off-topic because it is about chemistry Apr 18 '14 at 1:15
• The real question here is why would anyone waste a diamond by burning it?
– f.thorpe
Jul 7 '14 at 7:05