Graphite is a mineral composed exclusively of the element carbon. Graphite has the same chemical composition as Diamond, which is also pure carbon, but the molecular structure of Graphite and Diamond is entirely different. This causes almost opposite characteristics in their physical properties.

Much of the commercially mined Graphite is used for pencil fillings. The “lead” filling in pencils is in fact composed of a mixture of Graphite and clay. Graphite’s main function, however, is as a lubricant. It has many electrical uses, primarily because it is the only common nonmetal that is a good conductor of electricity.

Engineering ideas

  • carbon, diamond, lubricant, nonmetal, conductor