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What material provides the sharpest usable edge?

What material provides the sharpest usable edge? I have seen it suggested that it is obsidian or diamond
David Clarke from Hertfordshire (Age 55+)

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One Response

  1. Edges made from obsidian and diamond are not made in the same way.

    Obsidian (and flint and glass) can be broken carefully to generate a very sharp edge just by hitting it. It is not possible to do the same with a diamond. Diamond cutting edges are formed firstly by coating a normal blade with a diamond and then by sharpening the diamond on the surface of the blade.

    The question is of useability or practicality. As diamond is harder an edge on diamond will be more resistant to breakage than one on obsidian so a sharper edge would be useable under the same conditions. On the other hand neither blade is very easy to sharpen so once they do become dull you will be looking for a new one. Ceramic knives are usually made from zironium oxide, which has a hardness between obsidian and diamond.

    Of course if you just want to cut eggs the difference will not be great as both materials are much harder.

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