By Dr.Zhang from Nanjing Normal University | 16 July 2020 | 0 Comments

Graphite-An Amazing material with multiple uses.

Graphite-An Amazing Material with Multiple Uses.

What is graphite?
Graphite is a naturally occurring crystalline carbon. It is a natural element mineral found in metamorphic and igneous rocks. Graphite is an extreme mineral. It is very soft, split with very light pressure, and has a very low specific gravity. On the contrary, it is very heat-resistant and inert in contact with almost any other material. These extreme properties make it widely used in metallurgy and manufacturing.
Graphite powder is a kind of naturally occurring carbon, which is conductive and can be used as industrial lubricant. The graphite powder has natural microcrystalline grade, synthetic conductive grade, natural compact grade, natural general grade, natural high purity, synthetic conductive grade, nuclear grade, etc. Its forms include crystals, meshes and nickel plating. Graphite powder is often used as an additive in coatings and epoxy resins. The powder is also suitable for any application that requires a high surface area, such as water treatment, fuel cell and solar applications.
What color is graphite?
The graphite, which ranges in color from gray to black, is opaque and metallic. It is made up of carbon atoms and can be considered the highest grade of coal, although it is not normally used as a fuel. Graphite has a hardness of 1 to 2 on a mohs hardness tester and has black streaks. It is characterized by its crystalline structure and perfect base cleavage, which means it breaks into sheets with hexagonal edges.

What is graphite used for?
Graphite has a variety of almost contradictory uses. It is a carbon allotrope, one of the world's softest minerals, used for everything from writing tools to lubricants. It can be made into a single atom-thick cylinder of graphene that can be used as a super strong material for sports equipment. Graphite can conduct electricity like a metal, or it can withstand high temperatures like a nonmetal. There are some common uses of graphite as follows:
  • Writing material
The word graphite comes from the Greek word for "writing." So graphite is most commonly used to make lead in pencils. The lead is an amorphous mixture of clay and graphite.
  • Lubricants
Graphite has excellent lubrication properties due to its special microstructure composed of hexagonal planes of hybridized sp2-sp3 carbon bonds, and it is one of the main dry lubricant. Interlayer bonds are weak, so the material flakes easily. The single flakes are very thin and can be easily reciprocated between the two surfaces, resulting in three-body wear (surface graphite) with very low frit coefficients.
  • Refractory
Graphite is a widely used refractory material because of its heat resistance and invariance. It is used in manufacturing to help the production of glass and steel and the processing of steel.

Thermal conductivity of graphite
Graphite, though made up of only carbon atoms, is the only nonmetal that conducts electricity. That's because only three valence electrons form covalent bonds, leaving only one extra electron, and then those electrons go localized. This delocalised electron is no longer associated with a particular carbon atom and can move freely between the carbon layers of graphite and conduct electricity.
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