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Modern alchemy makes diamonds with CFCs.

By reworking a 2-year-old technology for making diamond films, Texas chemists have come up with a way to destroy chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and possibly make money at the same time.

Laws prohibiting the use of Freon and other CFCs will take effect during the next few years, leaving many companies with lots of useless CFCs. Current disposal techniques involve burning CFCs, but that process leads to acidic vapors and carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, says John L. Margrave, a chemist at the Houston Advanced Research Center in The Woodlands, Texas.

Margrave and his colleagues propose to use CFCs to stabilize the conversion of methane to carbon in their patented process for chemical vapor deposition of diamond films on substrates at relatively low temperatures. In June, the researchers announced that they had demonstrated the economic feasibility of this process, which causes the chlorine in a CFC to link up with methane's hydrogen, promoting diamond formation. The rest of the CFC becomes a sellable solvent, says Margrave.
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Title Annotation:chlorofluorocarbons
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jul 11, 1992
Previous Article:Technique zaps and maps lungs, heart.
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