"Carbon graphite" is a term that has a few meanings. First, in a more exact sense, it refers to a compound mixture of pitch, graphite, and petroleum coke. In a broader sense, it can also refer to graphite as an alloy of carbon. Naturally occurring carbon graphite can be found in three forms: flake or crystalline flake, amorphous, and lump or vein. Of these, amorphous graphite is the most commonly found, least expensive, and lowest quality graphite. The least common, most valuable, and highest quality graphite is lump graphite, while crystalline flake graphite falls in the middle.
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Applications of Carbon Graphite
Carbon graphite can easily be made into parts and products using traditional tools and machining processes, such as extrusion and die casting. Included on the list of carbon graphite uses are the production of heat shields, graphite heating elements and tubes, furnace linings and other furnace components, chemical processing equipment, molds, crucibles, and heat treating furnace fixtures.
Carbon graphite products are also involved in pressure casting, molten metal extrusion, and vertical and horizontal continuous part casting. In addition, because graphite has such an affinity for electrical conducting, it is extensively used to fabricate electrodes used in arc furnaces and electrical discharge machining. In the case of the latter, the graphite is referred to as EDM graphite. In its powdered form, dry graphite is also quite useful and commonly used as a dry lubricant for machinery and locks.
Material Properties of Carbon Graphite
Regardless of the exact way the term is used, carbon graphite can generally be thought of as a semimetal, possessing both metallic and nonmetallic properties. It is able to traverse both commercial and industrial worlds. Because carbon graphite contains both metallic and nonmetallic properties, it is both corrosion-resistant and strong. It is also easy to change to better suit the needs of an application. For example, to make it more closely resemble pure graphite, manufacturers can heat it at extreme temperatures. In addition, all grades of carbon graphite and organic graphite alike can be machined into various shapes and sizes to fulfill the needs of custom and standard specifications.
Benefits of Using Carbon Graphite
Carbon graphite offers users and manufacturers many benefits and advantages. For example, it is less expensive to produce than pure carbon, a material that it often replaces. In addition, in some settings, carbon graphite is not only less expensive than pure carbon, but also a better performer than pure carbon.
Another benefit of carbon graphite is the fact that it can maintain its physical properties and structure in the face of temperatures up to 5000 degrees. Few materials are able to withstand temperatures reaching that extremity. Next, many molded and extruded carbon graphite grades do not have to be graphitized, which means that the products into which they are formed are harder and more durable than those created using pure graphite.
Points to Consider When Purchasing Carbon Graphite
Unfortunately, the lack of graphitization also leads to one of the drawbacks of carbon graphite, which is the fact that it is less thermally resistant and electrically conductive than carbon and other graphites. This limits its application possibilities. Additionally, graphite’s streak properties means that it leaves a blackish gray mark when it comes in contact with another material.
It can also generate a collection of unwanted dust, thus creating the need for an additional process component, such as a cleaning system or a dust collection system. Another interesting aspect of carbon graphite is that, after it goes through carbonization, it is left with holes in its structure. This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing, as manufacturers can take this as an opportunity to more easily infuse and strengthen the graphite with other materials, such as pure carbon, metals, inorganic salts, or resins. Materials such as these can add a variety of improved qualities, like increased electrical conductivity, increased thermal conductivity, and better durability.