Structure and Properties - Flake Graphite
Flake graphite is a crystalline allotrope of carbon with a set of unparalleled diverse properties, derived from its unique crystal structure. The layered hexagonal alignment of carbon atoms is visible in the sheet like appearance of flake graphite, every single layer of atoms being GRAPHENE. The covalent bonds demonstrate extreme levels of strength. The Van der Waals bonds are weaker bonds making it possible to break or penetrate these bonds. Given these molecular characteristics and some others, flake graphite exhibits this unique set of properties making it mostly an irreplaceable in various industries, products and applications.
As a Conductor
- Being a pure form of carbon, it is the only Non-Metallic high-performance conductor of electricity
- It is also the only Non-Metallic high-performance conductor of heat
Given the above two properties, flake graphite is the only known material occurring in a free-flowing powder form normally and is also a good conductor. It therefore is the material of choice in various applications by virtue of these properties, including Energy Storage.
- The mirror finish flakes of graphite align on any surface providing excellent solid state lubrication, that can sustain higher temperature as compared to petroleum based lubricants
- It is also a reflector of light, giving it a shining lustre
- Infusions of certain chemicals within the layers of flake graphite, aprocess referred to as intercalation, weakens the vertical Van der Waals bonds in crystals. This instills a property of expansion on heating, which can exceed 300 times in volume. Commonly, this is known as Expandable Graphite
Chemical & Other Properties
- With melting temperature exceeding 3000° Centigrade, flake graphite is an excellent refractory material in reducing atmosphere
- Negligible coefficient of thermal expansion, an added advantage to its refractory properties, a property exhibited by very few known materials
- Chemically inert and non-hazardous
- Low adsorption of X-rays and neurons
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