Natural graphite is a valuable industrial mineral. It has many uses in nearly every aspect of manufacturing including electronics, atomic energie, hot metal processing and friction, coatings and aerospace.
What is graphite, exactly?
Graphite is a crystalline form the element carbon. It is composed of layers of graphene that are stacked. Graphite is a naturally occurring carbon and the most stable under standard conditions.
Natural and synthetic graphite are used extensively in pencils and lubricants. It turns to diamonds at high temperatures and pressure. It is a weak conductor for heat and electricity.
What types of graphite are there?
Natural graphite can be found in a variety of deposits.
If not fractured, tiny flakes or flake graphite of crystalline graphite are found as flat, plate-like particles. Edges can become irregular or angular if damaged.
Amorphous graphite. This is a very fine flake graphite that’s sometimes called amorphous.
Lumpy graphite or veined Graphite is found in fissure veins and cracks as lumpy plate symbionts fibrous or needle-like crystal aggregates. These are likely to be hydrothermal.
Highly ordered pyrolytic Graphite refers graphite whose angle distribution between graphite sheet is less than 1deg
The term “graphite fiber” is sometimes used to refer to carbon fiber or carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers.
What can natural graphite be used for?
Natural graphite, which has a melting temperature of up to 3650, is a refractory mineral and a good conductor and heat conductor. Graphite can be used for batteries, lubricants or refractories.
Anode for an electric vehicle
Graphite, the fundamental element of the production process for lithium-ion batteries, is at the moment the only one. Global demand for lithium-ion batteries with cathodes made from battery-grade graphite, both spherical and natural, is rising rapidly. This trend will continue until 2022. These batteries are mostly used in consumer electronics and electric vehicles.
Graphite is a valuable raw material in light-weight materials, such as carbon fiber, reinforced plastics, used in cars, and parts for aircraft.
Lubricants & Grease
Graphite has been used as a dry, solid lubricant for many years. It can be used for lubricating tools made of steel, titanium or stainless steel as well as special superalloy stamping pieces, die forging, hot and impact extrusion.
Graphite exhibits excellent lubrication and demolding properties. It has excellent tool wettability and concealment power. The combination of graphite that is very pure and refined oil results in reduced engraving, tool wear, residuals and other problems.
Refractory metals for steel, the crucible etc.
Graphite has a conductivity that is 100 times greater than ordinary non-metallic mineral minerals. Graphite is used to protect ingots and as a lining in metallurgical furnaces.
Graphite is also used as an alloy component in aluminum production.
Graphite is available in two forms: thin sheets and expanded graphite. This allows for the creation of metal-graphite compounds. Graphite can be used in a variety of ways depending on its direction and amount. It can be used for thermal management, passive damping elements in factories and mechanical engineering, and as a bearing material to make slow-rotating plain bearings. You can tailor the properties of materials such as thermal conductivity, strength, damping coefficient and thermal expansion coefficient to your intended use by combining them. Powder metallurgy can control the carbide content, and can produce as much as 90% of the volume graphite without pores. Even high graphite levels can be mechanically finished.
Brake pads are made of graphite. Graphite is used in brake pads.
The production of pencils from graphite is a long-standing tradition. Since the 19th Century, pencil leads were fired from a mix graphite-clay. The pencils are hardened and colored by clay, and then glazed with graphite to give them a black-colored and soft texture.
Natural graphite prices
Price is affected by many factors, including supply and demand, industry trends and economic activity.
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