Graphite is a crystalline modification of carbon which occurs naturally and can also be synthesized. It has been known since ancient times and is mined in various regions of the world. Only through purification and refinement does graphite become a high-tech material. Synthetic graphites can be produced by various methods and from various basic substances.
Graphitization takes place in special furnaces at temperatures up to 3,000°C. On a microscopic scale, graphite consists of single graphene layers which can easily be shifted against one another, the atoms being arranged in a hexagonal lattice. The material properties, such as electrical and thermal conductivity, depend decisively on whether they are measured within these graphene layers or along the fiber axis. This is due to the high bonding forces existing within the layers themselves (>4eV between two neighboring atoms) and the weak bonds between the individual layers (<0.1 eV).
The structure of graphite enables it to be intercalated. This fact opens up a variety of new applications, for instance as flame retardants, for the production of thin films, or as an energy storage medium. Among the most important applications for graphite are its use as a lubricant and – due to its high sublimation temperature – as a fireproof material. Moreover, graphite plays an important role as an additive for improving electrical conductivity, for instance in products made of polymers that are not intrinsically conductive.
Besides numerous other areas, graphites are utilized particularly in electrochemical applications. Battery systems such as alkali-manganese or lithium-ion batteries contain modified graphites.
For our graphite specialties, we mainly choose natural graphite from mines. It is extracted and processed in environment-friendly conditions. State-of-the-art technology is applied for the refining process, using the smallest possible amounts of energy and raw materials.
Graphite is a well-known and well-researched substance. It is chemically extremely inert, non-toxic, non-mutagenic, non-teratogenic and non-carcinogenic. Graphite is not harmful to the environment. No toxic products arise, either during incineration or at the landfill site.