Rods are thin or straight bars, typically composed of a metal, ceramic, plastic, or organic material. They are fairly simple to make and serve many purposes, depending on their size and composition. Graphite rods are a type of said rod, made from machined graphite or graphite mixtures. They are known for their extreme heat resistance, thermal shock resistance, high corrosion resistance, non-reactiveness, and a tendency to age well (because graphite is a non-fatiguing material).
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Applications of Graphite Rods
Graphite rods are most often used for semiconductor and fiber optics applications, both of which require sensitivity and precision. Other common uses of graphite rods include fishing rods and small fishing rods (because graphite is lightweight, sensitive, and durable), electrode cylinder rods, and hot and melting metal stirring rods.
Machined graphite is usually composed of a mixture or composite of copper and graphite. The addition of copper to the pure graphite yields its coveted properties of increased strength and fortified conductivity. As was mentioned, graphite rods are extremely heat resistant. To those wondering just how to define and quantify “extreme,” note that graphite rods are able to maintain their structure even when exposed to temperatures as “extreme” as 5000 degrees.
Manufacturing Process of Graphite Rods
Graphite rods are most often fabricated using one of three methods: compression molding, rod extrusion, or isostatic pressing. Many of these methods are quite similar to those used to form graphite tubes. The first method, compression molding, is a forming process during which a material is softened and then forced to take the shape of the mold in which it is resting. To work, the material to be molded is first preheated and then placed in an open and heated mold or cavity. Then, as it softens, the mold is closed from the top and pressurized by a plug member. Between the forces of pressure and heat, the graphite material spreads out and takes the form of the mold. It is held here until it cures.
Next, rod extrusion simply engages in the common extrusion molding process. This process begins when graphite stock and any desired additives are gathered together and placed in a hopper, where they are heated until they become molten. Once molten (or liquid), the stock is forced through a tube-shaped die. The stock takes on the shape and dimensions of the die and is allowed to cool. Once cool, it may be ejected from the die as a solid shape. Finally, isostatic pressing is a forming process that works by applying pressure from all sides. To work, the graphite material is placed inside a high pressure containment vessel. The containment vessel is pressurized by an inert gas like argon. Once the graphite is inside, the vessel is heated, increasing the pressure and causing forming that way.
Materials Used in Manufacturing Graphite Rods
A method of fabrication is chosen based on the requirements of the specific application a graphite rod is to serve. Likewise, the type of graphite chosen for a graphite rod forming process is chosen based on the needs of an application. Most graphite rods, for example, are made from finer grain graphite, as it offers the rods a smoother surface finish. However, in the case where a smooth finish or surface is not important, coarse grain and/or high density graphite stock can be used instead.
Benefits of Using Graphite Rods
Graphite is usually thought of as the stuff that makes pencil lead, but it is so much more than that, a fact that graphite rods highlight. Graphite rods offer many applications. They are electrically conductive, resistant to thermal shock, resistant to corrosion, and non-reactive. In addition, they are incredibly strong and durable. In fact, the structural soundness of machined graphite is such that, not only can it maintain its shape while immersed in extremely high temperatures, but it actually becomes stronger and more durable as temperatures increase. Graphite rods can be cut to fit the length, size, diameter, and shape requirements of all sorts of applications.
Points to Consider When Purchasing Graphite Rods
When considering a graphite rod purchase, customers and manufacturers alike must consider a few different factors to make sure that graphite is indeed the right material for the job. Such considerations include the expected time of exposure to weather elements, expected weather element types, anticipated length of application to extreme heat, intended use, projected tension or stress levels, and the rod dimensions desired. To better understand how a graphite rod may benefit your application, to discuss your specifications, or to simply get a pricing quote, contact an experienced manufacturer today. For the best results, reach out to one or more of those we have listed on this page.