What is Graphite?

"Graphite is as strong as diamonds but its unique structure makes it soft, light and highly resistant to heat. It's one of the most versatile non-metallic minerals in the world."

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Graphitegraphite archaically referred to as Plumbago, is a crystalline form of carbon, a semimetal, a native element mineral, and one of the allotropes of carbon. Graphite is the most stable form of carbon under standard conditions. Therefore, it is used in thermochemistry as the standard state for defining the heat of formation of carbon compounds. Graphite may be considered the highest grade of coal, just above anthracite and alternatively called meta-anthracite, although it is not normally used as fuel because it is difficult to ignite.

TYPES OF GRAPHITE

There are three principal types of natural graphite, each occurring in different types of ore deposits:

Flake Graphite

Flake graphite occurs as isolated, flat, plate-like particles with hexagonal edges if unbroken and when broken the edges can be irregular or angular. It is found in metamorphic rocks such as limestone, gneiss and schist either uniformly distributed through the body of the ore or in concentrated, lens-shaped pockets.

  • It is a less common form of graphite
  • It has a carbon range of about 85-98%.
  • Comes in four basic sizes: jumbo, large, medium and fine
  • Used in emerging technology graphite applications such as Li-ion battery anode material

Amorphous Graphite

Amorphous graphite is very fine, crystal-like particles in beds of mesomorphic rocks like coal, slate and shale. Its carbon content depends on that of its parent material. When found in coal, it is the result of the thermal metamorphism of coal and is referred to as meta-anthracite. Unlike coal, it is not used as fuel as it is difficult to ignite.

  • It is by far the most abundant form of graphite available
  • Has comparatively low carbon content of 70-80%
  • Has the lowest purity
  • Used in refractories brake linings, gaskets, clutch materials and pencil lead.

Vein Graphite (or Lump Graphite)

Vein graphite is believed to originate from crude oil deposits that through time, temperature and pressure were converted to graphite. Riddle said that the veins “are extremely small and range between 5 and 10 centimeters wide,” and generally have a purity level of 70 to 99+.

  • It is scarce and expensive. Currently only mined in Sri Lanka
  • Restricts viability for most applications

source : Wikipedia, Graphite Investing News