What Are The Main Properties of Graphite?

properties of graphite

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.

properties of graphite

It has a lower density than diamonds. 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

ColorSteel gray to black
Chemical ClassificationNative element
StreakBlack
LusterMetallic, sometimes earthy
DiaphaneityOpaque
Cleavage     Perfect in one direction
Mohs Hardness1 to 2
Specific Gravity2.1 to 2.3
Diagnostic PropertiesColor, streak, slippery feel, specific gravity
Chemical CompositionC
Crystal SystemHexagonal

What are the main properties of graphite?

Properties of Graphite:

  • A greyish-black, opaque substance.
  • Lighter than diamond, smooth and slippery to the touch.
  • A good conductor of electricity (Due to the presence of free electrons) and a good conductor of heat.
  • A crystalline solid
  • Very soapy to the touch.
  • non-inflammable.
  • Soft due to weak Vander wall forces.
  • The conductor of electricity.

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