US Supply Corporation

Facts about Graphite: Applications & Uses

Graphite is a naturally-occurring form of crystalline carbon. It is a native element mineral found in metamophic and igneous rocks. Graphite is a mineral of extremes. It is extremely soft, cleaves with very light pressure, and has a very low specific gravity. In contrast, it is extremely resistant to heat and nearly inert in contact with almost any other material. These extreme properties give it a wide range of uses in metallurgy and manufacturing.

Applications & Common Uses of Graphite

Carbon Brushes (electrical conductivity and low friction and self-lubrication).

  • Carbon brushes for electrical motors are manufactured from high purity synthetic graphite.
  • Copper-graphite and silver-graphite impregnated composites are used in applications where high electrical conductivity is required: railway technology, wind turbine generators, tacho generators.

Refractories (thermal resistance, thermal conductivity and low wettability by liquid metals).

  • Magnesia-carbon bricks for lining steel making furnaces contain up to 25% of graphite.
  • Alumina-carbon composites are used in ladles for liquid steel, pouring nozzles, sliding gates.
  • Clay-graphite and silicone carbide-graphite composites containing natural coarse flake graphite are used for manufacturing thermocouple and heater tubes, foundrty tools and crucibles for melting non-ferrous metals.
  • Facing sand in Sand Casting  contains flake graphite to prevent sticking of sand particles to the casting surface.

Electrodes for electric arc furnaces (thermal resistance and electric conductivity).

Molds for continuous casting from isostatically pressed graphite(thermal conductivity, thermal resistance, low friction and self-lubrication, low wettability).

Lubricants (low friction and self-lubrication).

  • Graphite powder as a solid lubricant.
  • Graphite powder added to oils and greases.
  • Polymer coatings containing graphite powder.
  • Bronze-graphite composites for sliding bearings.

Friction materials (low friction, self-lubrication, thermal conductivity, thermal resistance) contain up to 15% graphite powder for controlling coefficient of friction and dissipation of friction energy.

  • Clutches.
  • Brake drums and pads.

Graphite Foil (thermal resistance, chemical resistance) is made of a graphite powder treated by sulfuric acid and rolled to a required thickness. Graphite foil is used for manufacturing high temperature gaskets and packages.

Cathodic material in zinc-carbon and lithium-ion batteries (electrical conductivity and chemical resistance) contain fine high purity graphite powder.

Moderators in nuclear reactors (resistance to neutron radiation, thermal resistance).

Carbon fibers for Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites (high strength, low density). Automotive, marine and aerospace parts, sport goods (golf clubs, skis, tennis racquets, fishing rods), bicycle frames are made of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites.

Carbon-Carbon Composites (low CTE, high Modulus of Elasticity and strength, low density). High performance braking systems, refractory components, hot-pressed dies, heating elements, turbojet engine components.

Pencils (low friction) consist of a mixture of microcrystalline graphite and clay.

Physical Properties of Graphite

Chemical Classification  – Native element

Color Steel gray to black


LusterMetallic, sometimes submetallic or earthy


CleavagePerfect in one direction

Mohs Hardness1 to 2

Specific Gravity2.1 to 2.3

Diagnostic PropertiesColor, streak, slippery feel, specific gravity

Chemical CompositionC

Crystal SystemHexagonal

Uses of Graphite​

  • Used to manufacture heat and chemical resistant containers and other objects.
  • Battery anodes.
  • A dry lubricant.
  • The “lead” in pencils.

Graphite Key Properties

  1. Bulk Density (g/cm3) – 1.3-1.95
  2. Porosity (%) – 0.7-53
  3. Modulus of Elasticity (GPa) – 8-15
  4.  Compressive strength (MPa) – 20-200
  5. Flexural strength (MPa) – 6.9-100
  6. Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (x10-6 °C) – 1.2-8.2
  7. Thermal conductivity (W/m.K) – 25-470
  8. Specific heat capacity (J/kg.K) – 710-830
  9. Electrical resistivity (Ω.m) – 5×10-6-30×10-6

Graphite Specifications

Mesh Size -200 Mesh

Quantity – 28g

Odor – Odorless 

UN Number – UN1325

Solubility Information – Insoluble in water.

Physical Form – Powder, Ultra Superior purity

Percent Purity – 99.9999%

Grade – Ultra superior purity

Chemical Name or Material – Graphite powder, Natural

Assay – (metals basis)

If you’re interested in discussing how Graphite can be used for your application, please feel free to contact our technical team directly.