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 fur 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 blade.
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 Floter, 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," Floter 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 Floter. "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.
Floter 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 Floter. The cost is reasonable considering the cost of disposable razors over the course of a year, says Floter.
GFD developed the new technology in cooperation with Professor Hans-Jorg Fecht, a nanomaterials expert at the University of Ulm in Germany, and with the aid of public research funding.