Graphite is something that’s become increasingly more common in the manufacturing industry, and the majority of this has been because of the various uses that it provides. However, to illustrate how important any graphite materials are in the manufacturing industry, it’s worth knowing what it is. In short, it’s an allotrope of carbon that occurs naturally in metamorphic rock and generally comes in three different forms. These are crystalline flake, amorphous, and lump; each of these provide various uses, both in the manufacturing industry and outside.
Some people may think that graphite is the same as diamond, because both are an allotrope of carbon. However, both of them are what are known as polymorphs; this means that they both have different molecular structures, and thus have a variety of different physical properties and uses. Because of this, graphite can have a host of different uses in the manufacturing industry that diamonds don’t, and these are what make it so useful in the industry. Chief among these is the fact that it’s got a significant amount of thermal and electrical conductivity, while also having non-metallic properties.
These include the likes of inertia, high thermal resistance, and lubricity. Because of that, graphite can have a host of different uses throughout the manufacturing process.
Having said that, the majority of the uses that its put to include a variety of applications, such as high-temperature lubricants, brushes for electrical motors, and friction materials. With those uses, there are very few manufacturing companies that don’t use it regularly, even if it is somewhat minor. While the material can have some significant uses, as we already mentioned, there are a few uses that are somewhat more minor uses; these are normally used daily, both inside and outside the manufacturing industry.
The most obvious of these is in pencils, although not all of these uses are that minor. For example, graphite is the main component in lithium-ion batteries; very few people are aware that there is 10 to 30 times more graphite than lithium in these batteries. Furthermore, graphite has also been used in the likes of smartphones, and are used extensively in the steel manufacturing and electronics. On top of this, there are a variety of other key uses for graphite, with the demand for the material becoming increasingly higher. However, while demand for graphite has increased exponentially over the past several years, the supply has remained somewhat constantly.
Furthermore, more and more advancements are being made that are helping to drive up this demand, both inside and outside the manufacturing industry; these include the range of uses in carbon-graphite composites, electronics, foils, friction materials, and special lubricants. Lastly, graphite is also a source of graphene; this is a super material that can be used in a variety of different manufacturing applications. These include the likes of bio-sensing, membrane technology, battery technology, electronics, heat transfer, and advanced composites. Because of this, not only is demand set to increase, but it’s set to become more and more common in the manufacturing industry.