Graphite has a giant covalent structure in which: each carbon atom is joined to three other carbon atoms by covalent bonds. the carbon atoms form layers with a hexagonal arrangement of atoms. the layers have weak forces between them. Also, graphite has the following properties
Physical Properties of Graphite
Graphite has a high melting point, similar to that of a diamond. Graphite is a soft, slippery feel, and is used in pencils and as a dry lubricant for things like locks. It has a lower density than diamond. It is insoluble in water and organic solvents – for the same reason that diamond is insoluble.
Graphite has a high melting point, similar to that of a diamond. In order to melt graphite, it isn’t enough to loosen one sheet from another. You have to break the covalent bonding throughout the whole structure.
It is a soft, slippery feel, and is used in pencils and as a dry lubricant for things like locks. You can think of graphite rather like a pack of cards – each card is strong, but the cards will slide over each other, or even fall off the pack altogether. When you use a pencil, sheets are rubbed off and stick to the paper.
It has a lower density than diamond. This is because of the relatively large amount of space that is “wasted” between the sheets.
It is insoluble in water and organic solvents – for the same reason that diamond is insoluble. Attractions between solvent molecules and carbon atoms will never be strong enough to overcome the strong covalent bonds in graphite.
Graphite conducts electricity. The delocalized electrons are free to move throughout the sheets. If a piece of graphite is connected into a circuit, electrons can fall off one end of the sheet and be replaced with new ones at the other end.
The material is typically grayish-black in color, opaque, and has a radiant black sheen. It is very soft, cracks with very mild pressure, and has a very low specific gravity. Graphite is a different material because it exhibits the properties of both a metal and a nonmetal.
Although graphite is flexible, it is not elastic and has high electrical and thermal conductivity. These fabulous properties give it a wide range of uses in metallurgy and manufacturing.
Chemical Properties of Graphite
Steel gray to black
Metallic, sometimes earthy
Perfect in one direction
1 to 2
2.1 to 2.3
Color, streak, slippery feel, specific gravity