What is Graphite?

  • Chemical formula: C
  • Colour: Grey to black
  • Mohs scale hardness: 1-2
  • Luster: Metallic
  • Streak: Black
  • Structure: Micro-crystalline to macro-crystalline
  • Forms: Anamorphous, flake and vein
  • Qualities: exhibits properties of a metal and non metal
  • Properties: lubricity, conductivity, strength and refractorinessl

Graphite and diamonds are the only two naturally formed polymers of carbon. The main difference between the two is structure - Graphite is two-dimensional while diamonds are three-dimensional.

Graphite is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, with the highest natural strength and stiffness of any material. It is also one of the lightest of all reinforcing agents with a high natural lubricity and a melting point of 3,600 degrees Celsius. This combination offers an incredible and diverse range of applications.

Natural Graphite comes in several forms: amorphous, flake and lump or vein Graphite.

Vein Graphite, also referred to as Lump, Ceylon or Sri Lankan Graphite, is the purest and most expensive form of natural Graphite. It is hand mined from underground operations and requires only basic processing due to its mined purity - commonly achieving greater than 95% Carbon as Graphite. Sri Lanka is the only country in the world producing vein graphite.

Traditionally recognised as the 'lead' in pencils, recent discoveries and consumer demands have reshaped the use of Graphite. Pencils only account for approximately 14% of the world's Graphite demand. Today, Graphite is largely tied to the steel industry, which accounts for about 52% of total Graphite demand.

Graphite structureGraphite sample