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August 16th, 2010
For the last few months, Andre Flöter has been shaving with a diamond-tipped razor blade.
He's not some nouveau riche flaunting the newest kind of bling. He's the founder of GFD, a German company that for the last seven years has been selling blades that are coated with synthetic diamond and used for industrial purposes--such as medical scalpels and instruments that cut plastic sheeting. Now Flöter hopes to use the exceptional hardness of diamond to crack the multibillion-dollar market for consumer razor blades.
He demonstrates against his own arm hair how it cuts as smoothly as a regular razor. He hands it to me so I can try, and it feels like my regular razor. But one major difference, Flöter says, is that his diamond-tipped blade should last several years rather than a few weeks.
The body of the blade is made of tungsten carbide, a dense metal compound, and seems just like a typical commercial razor blade, except it is a little heavier and has a darker metallic color. The coating of synthetic diamond--carbon manipulated at the nanoscale--in the tip doesn't make it look shiny at all.
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