Use cases ·

What is graphite used for?

At constant atmospheric temperature and pressure, graphite is the most stable allotropic form of carbon. You've probably heard that the pencil leads we use in school are made of graphite, but this is just one of the many applications of this material.

What is graphite used for?

At constant temperature and atmospheric pressure, graphite is the most stable allotropic form of carbon. You have probably heard that the pencil leads we use in school are made of graphite, but this is only one of the many applications of this material.

To begin with, it is important to mention that graphite is made up of layers of hexagons with six atoms, each of which is bound by covalent bonds to the three closest atoms in the same layer.

Because the fourth atom remains free, a dispersed electrical charge is generated, which gives graphite a high electrical conductivity. It can be obtained naturally, from open pit or subway mines, or synthetically from raw materials such as coal coke or anthracite subjected to high temperatures and pressure.

It is for all of the above that the answer to the question of what is graphite used for will surely surprise you.

Main uses of graphite

  • As mentioned above, because it is a good conductor of electricity, graphite is widely used for the manufacture of electrodes. It is also the main component of lithium-ion batteries, which are found in most mobile devices today.
  • When mixed with a paste, it is used to make school pencils and pencils of all kinds. It can also be used for bricks, crucibles, tiles, etc.
  • In the case of the automotive sector, graphite is responsible for shaping the materials that will be in contact with each other, such as gaskets, wiper blades or brake pads. It ensures that the pads do not wear out over time, due to temperature or friction.

In electric motors, small pieces of graphite facilitate contact between the electrical phases and the collector.

  • This material is also found in many types of nuclear reactors, such as moderators and reflectors. In these cases, synthetic graphite is sometimes used as a moderator matrix to slow down the neutrons.

This variety used for reactors is called nuclear graphite.

  • Graphene is obtained from graphite, a material that is stronger than steel but as light and flexible as plastic.
  • It is also a solid lubricant because it slides easily. This is due to the overlapping layers in its structure.

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