Graphite – Let’s Go Back to Basics

Graphite is a natural crystalline carbon, which is an element mineral. You can find it in igneous and metamorphic rocks. According to experts, graphite is extremely soft and has a low specific gravity. It tends to cleave even if you put slight pressure on it. Moreover, it’s resistant to heat. Moreover, its extreme properties allow you to use it for different purposes. If you want to know more about graphite and how it’s formed, you should read through this article.

Geologic Occurrence

The exposure of carbon to immense heat and pressure results in carbon. Most of the graphite that you see on the surface of Earth was formed on the boundaries of the convergent plate where lime stones and the organic-rich thing were exposed to the pressure and heat. As a result of this process, the formation of marble, gneiss and schist occurs along with flakes of graphite.

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“Amorphous” Graphite

Graphite also forms when the coal seams go through the process of metamorphism. The organic stuff in the coal consists of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and sulfur. Moreover, the heat of this process eliminates the organic molecules volatilizing the sulfur, nitrogen and hydrogen. This entire process produces almost pure carbon stuff that turns into mineral graphite.

Hydrothermal Metamorphism

During the hydrothermal metamorphism, graphite comes into existence as a result of the reaction of the compounds of carbon in the rock. It is possible to mobilize and deposit carbon in veins with hydrothermal minerals. Aside from this, since carbon is precipitated, manufacturers use it for a variety of electrical applications.

Meteorites And Igneous Rocks

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In igneous rocks, you can find graphite in small quantities. Aside from this, it can also be found in pegmatite. In addition, iron meteorites also have a little bit of graphite. But these forms of graphite don’t have any economic importance.

Graphite and Diamond

Carbon has two mineral forms: diamond and graphite. Diamond forms when carbon goes through immense heat and pressure. Here it’s important to note that most graphite is formed under low pressure and temperature in the crust. Both graphite and diamond feature similar composition but their structures are different.

In graphite, the atoms of carbon are connected in a network. This network creates sheets with the thickness of one atom. And even under a slight pressure, the sheets slide over or cleave. That is the reason graphite is soft and gives a slippery feel.

On the other hand, the carbon atoms found in the diamond are connected in a framework structure. Aside from this, each atom of carbon is connected to a three-sided network with other carbon atoms. As a result of this arrangement, the atoms are strongly connected, which makes diamonds the hardest thing in the world.

So, this was a brief introduction to graphite and how it is formed. If you want to know more about the subject, you may want to make a search online. You will come to know a lot about graphite and its application in a lot of different things. Hope this helps.