Graphite is a grey semimetal that is an allotrope (form) of carbon. Graphite is naturally occurring and can be found in three different forms; flake granite, amorphous granite and vein (lump) granite. Graphite can also be made synthetically for a variety of uses. Graphite is considered the most stable form of carbon in normal conditions and has many applications. This article will outline to uses of graphite in the world today.
Use of Graphite
- Graphite is used in a number of forms in refractories due to its ability to withstand intense temperatures. Alumina-graphite is used to construct nozzles and troughs. Graphite based bricks are used to line steel convertors, blast furnaces and electric arc furnaces.
- Graphite is used to construct the anodes of all major batteries such as batteries used around the house in remote controls and battery powered toys. Graphite is particularly important in the construction of electric car batteries.
- Natural graphite and synthetic graphite are both used as a carbon raiser in molten steel. This increases the carbon content in the steel.
- Graphite is used in the brake linings of large heavy vehicles.
- Fine flake graphite is used in a certain type of water-based paint that is used to prevent hot metal from sticking to molds.
- Graphite is also used to produce lubricants to use at very high or very low temperatures. Forging die lubricants, anti-seize agents, gear lubricants are all made from graphite.
- Graphite is used as the marking substance inside pencils. It is normally mixed with clay to give it softer characteristics. It is also used in raw form as an artistic medium in sticks and flakes.
- It is also used in some electric motor brushes.
- Expanded graphite is used to make graphite foil which is used to make bipolar plates in fuel cells and
- heat sinks for laptop computers.
- Expanded graphite is often used as a surface material for molten metal ladles and steel ingots to reduce heat loss.
- It is also used as fire stops around the edge of fire doors and as protective sheets around pipes to prevent fire damage.
- Synthetic graphite is used to create the electrodes that melt scrap iron and steel in electric arc furnaces due to graphite’s ability to conduct electricity.
- Specialized synthetic graphite is also used as a matrix and neutron moderator in nuclear reactors.
- Graphite fiber is also used to reinforce plastics such as those used in fishing rods, golf clubs, bicycle frames and pool cues and heat-resistant components such as reinforced carbon-carbon.
- Graphite has also been used to create radar absorbent materials and smokeless powder.