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The Mineral Graphite
Graphite Picture

Graphite

The crystal structure of the Graphite mineral is that of a two dimensional planar, but that of diamond, is a three dimensional one. As regards the properties of Graphite, it is a very good conductor of electricity and heat, and when compared to other materials, its stiffness and strength are of the highest order. Even up to temperatures more than 3,600oC, it retains its stability and strength; besides, its resistance to the attack of chemicals is very high. It is a very good lubricant and one among the lightest of the reinforcing agents.

Graphite or /ˈɡræfaɪt/ comprises of the majority of carbon atoms. When in the form of diamond, it becomes a mineral that is a native element and is a partial metal; it is also an allotrope of carbon. Under standard situations, it is the best stable form of carbon.

As far as Graphite is considered, it is the coal of the top grade, anthracite is just below it, as such, it is otherwise named meta-anthracite, Graphite is not easy to ignite, and so it is not generally used as fuel.

The three main varieties of natural Graphite, occurring in various kinds of ore deposits are amorphous graphite, crystalline and lump graphite.

A single sheet of graphite is called grapheme

Occurrence

During metamorphism, compounds of sedimentary carbon get reduced to Graphite forming metamorphic rock

Besides, it is also found in meteorites and igneous rocks.

Those minerals allied to graphite are Calcite, Quartz, Tourmaline and Mica.

When associated with meteorites, it occurs along Withsilicate and Troilite minerals. Tiny graphite crystals found in meteoritic iron are named Cliftonite.

The main exporters of Graphite are China (750 kt), Brazil (75 kt), Canada (26 kt), India (150 kt), and North Korea (30 kt). Even though Graphite is not mined from The U.S., the production of synthetic graphite in US was 134 kt in 2010, which had a value of $1.07 billion.

Derivation Of Name

Traditionally Graphite was named as plumbago or black lead

It was Abraham Gottlob Werner, who coined the name graphite (“writing stone”) in 1789

Physical characteristics

mineral graphite

graphite mineral picture

Color is - Iron-black to steel-gray; deep blue in transmitted light

  • Luster – like that of earth, Metallic,

  • Associated minerals – Fullerite, Lonsdaleite, Chaocite, Silicon, etc.

  • Fracture – Other than on cleavage, it, is Flaky/

  • Transparency- Opaque, transparent only in extremely thin flakes

  • Hardness - 1–2 on Mohs scale

Applications

A graphite that is obtained in nature is of great use in batteries, expanded graphite, as refractory, for making steel, for brake linings, as lubricants and for foundry facings. Graphene that occurs from graphite in nature, possesses special physical properties and perhaps one among the strongest material found; even then the process in which grapheme is separated from graphite needs new techniques for its economic use in industrial use

Graphite in its natural form is widely used in electric motor brushes, in zinc-carbon batteries and other special uses. The other forms in which graphite is generally used are as sticks for making lead points for drawing and writing, and in the form of powder. The quality of graphite varies according to its softness or hardness. When used by artists, its quality is toned. The bare portion of the steam locomotive boiler parts like the smoker box or bottom of the firebox is given a heat resistant coating by applying a coating of a paste of graphite along with linseed oil or waste oil.


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