Photo by dotbenjamin
Hair today, gone tomorrow? A diamond-tipped razor blade from Germany could soon supplant its disposable counterpart in the face-shaving department—and we’re not just splitting follicles. Developed by Gesellschaft für Diamantprodukte (GFD) in Ulm, the Diamaze PSD comprises a tungsten carbide blade that is coated with a film of synthetic, industrial-grade diamonds. Sharpened to produce a cutting edge of only a few nanometers, the blade is said to last 1,000 times longer than conventional steel, meaning it stays sharp for years, rather than weeks.
The Ulm-based company has been manufacturing blades coated with synthetic diamonds for almost a decade, albeit for less-glamourous equipment such as medical scalpels, drill bits, and probe needles. That was before Andre Flöter, founder of GFD, had the brainwave to apply diamond’s near-invulnerability to break into the multibillion-dollar consumer razor industry.
GFD engineers use a “plasma-sharpening” process to create a cutting edge as small as 3 nanometers.
But toughness isn’t the only quality the hirsute look for in razors. To ensure a clean, close shave, GFD engineers use a “plasma-sharpening” process that involves sticking dozens of blades upright in a vacuum chamber and then pummeling them with oxygen or chlorine gas that has been excited to a plasma state. The resulting radius of curvature at the cutting edge, according to GFD, can be as small as 3 nanometers—or only a few atoms in width.
Of course, blades manufactured this way would cost a lot more than conventional ones, but Flöter insists that they’ll pay for themselves in the long term. “If one adds together the costs of disposable razors over the period of one year,” he says, “then our diamond blade could certainly be a reasonably priced alternative.”
[Via Technology Review]