Applications and Characteristics
Graphite is a naturally occurring form of the element carbon. It is black to steel grey in color, opaque, and with a distinctive soft lubricative texture. Graphite exhibits two crystalline structures: hexagonal (alpha) and rhombohedral (beta). Both crystalline structures exhibit a high degree of anisotropy, which heavily determine graphite’s properties, especially electrical and mechanical.
Graphite is recognized for being an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, for exhibiting the highest natural strength and stiffness over all other minerals, for resistance to chemical attack and for withstanding high temperatures (higher than 3600 °C (6500 °F)).
Graphite is commonly used as refractory material (meaning it is resistant to decomposition under extreme conditions) due to its high heat conductivity and mechanical stability at high temperatures without suffering chemical changes.
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