What are the Uses of Graphite?

Graphite is a type of mineral found in metamorphic and igneous rocks. It usually forms when carbon in the earth’s crust is exposed to high temperatures and pressures. Graphite is also said to be one of the naturally occurring forms of crystalline carbon. However, this mineral is interesting and is commonly referred to as the mineral of all extremes.

As such, graphite is inherently soft, easily splits even with light pressure, is greasy, and has a low specific weight. Furthermore, this mineral is black or sometimes gray in color. It is an excellent conductor of electricity or heat and can withstand extreme temperatures. Another important character of this mineral is that it is chemically inert, which means that it is unaffected by most reagents and acids.

Graphite occurs in its natural form and also in large quantities around the world. However, it is usually classified into three forms, namely flake, crystalline, and amorphous, depending on the source of the mineral.

Uses of Graphite

Graphite is used in pencils and lubricants. It is a good conductor of heat and electricity. Its high conductivity makes it useful in electronic products such as electrodes, batteries, and solar panels.

  • Writing Materials
  • Lubricants
  • Refractory
  • Nuclear Reactors
  • Batteries
  • Graphene Sheets

Writing Materials

The word graphite is from the Greek language which translates as ‘to write’. So the most common use of graphite is in making the lead in pencils. This lead is a mixture of clay and graphite which is in an amorphous form.

Lubricants/Repellents

Graphite is one of the main ingredients in lubricants like grease, etc. This mineral reacts with atmospheric water vapour and creates a thin film or layer over the surface applied and thus reduces friction. Graphite is also used in car brakes and clutches.

The powdered form of lump graphite is also used in paints. Why? Well, graphite by nature is water-repellent. So it offers a protective coating on wood and other surfaces.

Refractories

Due to its high tolerance to heat and unchangeability, Graphite is a widely used refractory material. It finds its use in the manufacturing industry and it helps in the production of glass and steel as well as processing of iron.

Nuclear Reactors

Graphite can absorb fast-moving neutrons. As a result, it is used in reactors to stabilize nuclear reactions.

Electrical Industry

Crystalline flake graphite is used in the manufacturing of carbon electrodes, brushes, and plates needed in dry cell batteries and the electrical industry. Interestingly, natural graphite is also processed into synthetic graphite. This type of graphite is useful in lithium-ion batteries.

Graphene Sheets

Graphite can be used to make graphene sheets. These sheets are said to be 100 times stronger and 10 times lighter than steel. This derivative of graphite is further used in making lightweight and strong sports equipment. Many are considering future applications in the field of the medical and aerospace industry.

Application of Graphite

Graphite is used in pencils and lubricants. It is a good conductor of heat and electricity. Its high conductivity makes it useful in electronic products such as electrodes, batteries, and solar panels. But also it has an industrial application of graphite as per below:

Uses of graphite in the Chemical industry

In the chemical sector, graphite is employed in many high-temperature applications, like in the production of phosphorus and calcium carbide in arc furnaces. Graphite is used as an anode in specific aqueous electrolytic processes such as the production of halogens (chlorine and fluorine).

Uses of graphite in the Nuclear industry

Large amounts of high-purity electrographite are used for producing moderator rods and reflector components in nuclear reactors. The suitability of electrograms comes from the low absorption of neutrons, high thermal conductivity, and high power at high temperatures.

Uses of graphite in Electrical applications

Graphite is mainly used as an electric material in the manufacture of carbon brushes in electric motors. Here, the component’s service life and performance largely depend on grade and structure.

Uses of graphite in Mechanical applications

Graphite is widely used as an engineering material across a variety of applications such as piston rings, thrust bearings, journal bearings, and vanes. Carbon-based seals are used in the fuel pumps and shafts of several aircraft jet engines.

1. Seal rings & Turbine rings:

Used alongside graphite guide rings to seal high-pressure, oil-free gases. Because of Self-lubricating, chemically inert, high strength-to-weight ratio, thermal stability

2. Slip rings & Sliding rings

Electromechanical devices designed to transmit electrical current from a stationary device to a rotating one. They improve mechanical performance and remove the need to have wires dangling from movable joints. Graphite use Because of its Conductivity, self-lubricating properties that mean it can resist wear over time.

3. Bearings & Bushings

Bearings are components that support a load while in contact with and moving relative to another part. A type of bearing, bushings are thin tubes designed to reduce friction between two surfaces sliding against each other. Graphite use Because of its Self-lubricating, long service life, thrives in harsh environments.

4. Vanes

Blades attached to a rotating wheel that pushes or is pushed by wind or water. Graphite use Because of its Self-lubricating, resistant to high temperatures, chemically inert.

5. Lubrication blocks

Designed to lubricate rotary equipment such as trunnion rolls, riding rings, tires, and insert seals where wet lubricants can’t be used. The weight of the block keeps it in constant contact with the rolling surface, depositing a thin film of graphite. Graphite use Because of its Self-lubricating, resistance to wear over time

FAQ

What are the uses of graphite?

Graphite is used in pencils and lubricants. It is a good conductor of heat and electricity. Its high conductivity makes it useful in electronic products such as electrodes, batteries, and solar panels.
1. Writing Materials
2. Lubricants
3. Refractory
4. Nuclear Reactors
5. Batteries
6. Graphene Sheets

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