Graphite powder is a dry and lubricant material that has been used in industrial processes for over two centuries. It is a popular choice for brake linings, carbon batteries, ship bottom surfaces and more.
Besides being a dry and lubricant material, graphite is also very thermally stable. This property makes it an ideal insulator and can stand temperatures up to 1000 degC, far better than other insulation materials.
It is a greyish black, opaque material that is lighter than diamond and smooth to touch. It conducts electricity and heat very well because of the presence of free electrons within its layers.
The layers of graphite are bonded by covalent bonds (where the 3 carbon atoms share an electron) and by weak Van der Waals forces that hold the sheets together, making them soft and able to slide past each other easily. This is why pencils are made from graphite and why the mechanism in a lock and key uses powdered graphite as the lubricant.
Graphite can be produced in a natural or artificial way, and it is widely used in a variety of products including metallurgical crucibles, metal forming industry, high efficient secondary batteries, lubricants, and foundry facings. Various kinds of coatings can also be formed from it, such as paints, and silver nanowires. Graphite is also an important component in lithium-ion battery anodes, as well as electric motor brushes.