Graphite occurs naturally in three forms, which differ in value. From high value to low, the forms are:
- Lump / Vein: Less than 1% of world output, it only occurs in Sri Lanka.
- Flake: About half of world output. Larger flakes are more valuable.
- Amorphous: About half of world output. Low purity, low quality, low value.
Physical Properties and Applications of Graphite
- Atomic Structure: Graphite is composed of a stack of carbon atom layers, each arranged in hexagonal groups that form one atom thick sheets called graphene.
- Properties: Strong, Flexible, Heat resistant, Highly conductive both Thermally and Electrically, Chemically inert, Highly refractory.
- Applications: Li-Ion batteries, Fuel cells, Flame retardants, Crucibles, Brake pads, Ceramics, Lubricants, Heat sinks.
- Systematic price increases for large flake.
- New product development, particularly in high purity applications such as lithium-ion batteries, solar panels, and semiconductors.
- Constrained supply from major suppliers; only one current North American supplier.