It's well known that diamonds are a girl's best friend. Now,
if a German company gets its wish, guys may love them, too.
GFD Gesellschaft für Diamantprodukte of Ulm, Germany, is
pitching the idea of using a super-sharp razor blade made of industrial
diamonds that could last more than 1,000 times longer than today's conventional
A nanocrystalline diamond coating is first applied to a
carbide blade, then the minute layers are polished by a
plasma sharpening process developed by GFD.
The blade is polished until the cutting edge is sharpened to only a few
nanometers, consisting of merely a few atoms.
According to Dr. Andre Flöter, managing director of GFD, this
process manages, for the first time, to combine the hardest material in the
world with the sharpest possible cutting edge.
GFD blades are currently being used in the pharmaceutical
and the plastic industry for tough cutting jobs, such as thick plastic sheet.
"The main reasons why companies are using our blades are the
sharpness and the extreme long lifetime of our blades," Flöter says. "The lifetime
of our industrial diamond blades can exceed the lifetime of an uncoated steel
blade by a factor of 1,000 times. Compared to ceramic industrial blades, the
lifetime increase is still up to 40 times."
About 18 months ago, GFD decided to further develop the
technology to make it suitable for razor blades.
"This development was successful and we now have the first
prototypes of these blades available," says Flöter. "At this moment we are
testing our razor blades in order to find out on how much longer they are going
to last. We have no final data on the lifetime yet but we are expecting a lifetime
increase of at least 50 times compared to a steel razor blade."
The $64,000 question is what these super-premium razor
blades would cost.
Flöter says that prices are still to be determined, but the
industrial blades are priced in the $129 to $194 range. "The razor blades are
more complex to make but we also expect larger quantities in the field of razor
blades," says Flöter. The cost is reasonable considering the cost of disposable
razors over the course of a year, says Flöter.
GFD developed the new technology in cooperation with
Professor Hans-Jörg Fecht, a nanomaterials expert at the University of Ulm in
Germany, and with the aid of public research funding.