A naturally occurring silvery-black allotropic form of carbon. Graphite is formed by horizontal sheets of hexagonal carbon rings. The layered structure makes makes it soft, slippery, and flaky. A graphite deposit was discovered in England and mined for two centuries to produce small lumps of wadd, or black lead, that were used for writing. By the 18th century, graphite was mixed with clay to form pencil lead. Current graphite mines are found in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, India, North Korea, Mexico (Sonora), Ontario, western Siberia, and the U.S. (New York, New Jersey, Alabama, Texas). Graphite is extremely stable at high temperatures and does not conduct heat. It is used as crucibles, metal molds, brick, electrodes, lubricants, stove polish, and as a pigment for industrial paints. It is not used as an artist pigment. Graphite was first made synthetically by Edward G. Acheson (patented 1896). Nearly pure graphite is manufactured from anthracite coal and petroleum coke.
Synonyms and Related Terms
Pigment Black 10; CI 77265; grafit (Dan., Pol., Sven.); Graphit (Deut.); grafito (Esp.); graphite (Fr.); grafitis (Gr.); grafite (It., Port.); grafiet (Ned.); black lead; plumbago; wadd; hypercarburet of iron; Flanders stone; stove black;
Cleavage = perfect in one direction Crystals = hexagonal tablets, thin flakes.
Luster = metallic Streak = gray to black
|Mohs Hardness||1.0 - 2.0|
Hazards and Safety
The finely powdered dust is toxic by inhalation. Fire risk.
Mallinckrodt Baker: MSDS
° J.Winter, "The Characterization of Pigments Based on Carbon" Studies in Conservation, 28:49-66, 1983.
° Mineralogy Database: Graphite
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