Is Graphite a Nanomaterial?

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Graphite is a nanomaterial

Graphite is a soft, crystalline form of carbon (C). It occurs naturally in metamorphic rocks. It is a common allotrope of carbon and has properties of a metal and a nonmetal, exhibiting high thermal and electrical conductivity, inertness, and lubricity.

Synthetic graphite is produced from two raw materials: a carbon carrier, usually coal from crude oil, and pitch as a binder. It is then refined in a complex set of high-temperature processes to obtain desired properties.

It is also used in batteries and fuel cells, as an electrode for electrochemical cells, in brake linings, and foundry facings. It is a key component in lithium ion batteries.

In its natural state, graphite is grey to black in color and is opaque. It is lighter than diamond and smooth and slippery to the touch. It has a metallic luster and is highly refractory, chemically inert and heat stable at temperatures of 700 degC and above.

The atoms of carbon arrange themselves in the hexagonal pattern typically seen in diamond and other crystalline forms. The resulting hexagonal layered lattice makes graphite an excellent conductive material for electricity. Unlike diamond, graphite is a poor insulator.

As a result, it is very difficult to separate a single carbon atom from its lattice. This limiting property, along with its strength and flexibility, is what has made graphite so useful for so many applications. It is also a very durable material, which is why pencils and erasers are made from it.

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