Is Graphite Flammable? 

This article will answer the question, is Graphite flammable? It also covers several topics about Graphite, its characteristics and applications, the first aid treatment of Graphite exposure, the fire handling method, and the storage of Graphite to prevent flame.

Is Graphite Flammable?

Graphite is non-flammable in bulk but flammable when heated. When graphite particles and air are combined, they become explosive. 

Powerful oxidizing agents, such as chlorine dioxide, Graphite, and potassium peroxide, cause violent reactions. Chemically, it’s almost inert in bulk form. Keep a safe distance from sources of ignition and oxidizing agents.

What is Graphite?

Graphite is a naturally occurring mineral with a C composition (carbon). This mineral contains several distinguishing properties. The hexagonal crystal system of Graphite appears as a foliated mass or loose, thin sheets, has an opaque structure, and is often black.

Graphite is a mineral formed when carbon is heated and compressed in the Earth’s crust and upper mantle. Producing Graphite necessitates pressures of up to 75,000 pounds per square inch and temperatures of up to 750 degrees Celsius.

What are the Properties of Graphite?

The specific gravity of Graphite is 2.23, it has excellent/clear cleavage, and it feels greasy when handled. This mineral has a high heat resistance and is difficult to dissolve in water. In addition, Graphite is the only nonmetallic mineral that can carry electricity. 

Graphite is an excellent electrical conductor (conductor). The more detailed characteristics of Graphite are as follows:

  • Chemical composition: Carbon
  • Color: Dark grey to black
  • Mohs Hardness: 1-2
  • Streak: Black
  • Luster: Earthy, submetallic, or metallic
  • Cleavage: One direction
  • Diaphaneity: Opaque
  • Crystal system: hexagonal
  • Specific gravity: 2.1-2.3

What are the Applications of Graphite?

Here are a few examples of Graphite applications in various industries:

  • Graphite is often used as a lubricant in the machinery industry
  • Graphite is a raw material for crucibles because of its high-temperature resistance and strength
  • Due to the small coefficient of thermal expansion of Graphite and the ability to withstand rapid changes in cold and heat, it can be used as a glass mold
  •  It is widely utilized in petrochemical, hydrometallurgical, acid-base production, synthetic fiber, papermaking, and other industrial sectors because of its corrosion resistance and high mechanical properties
  • Graphite has a good neutron moderator used in atomic reactors
  • Graphite is also used as a raw material for paints, vehicle brake shoes, coatings for television picture tubes, and telephone parts

What is the First Aid Treatment When Exposed to Graphite?

  • Get into the fresh air after you’ve inhaled it. Treating the symptoms is the best course of action. If your symptoms persist, look for a doctor.
  • If you ingest it, seek medical help as soon as possible. Do not induce vomiting unless a medical professional recommends you to. Never give anything to an unconscious person to drink. If you vomit, keep your head down to prevent stomach contents from entering your lungs
  • If it is in contact with your eye, irrigate it with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Remove your contact lenses if at all possible. Seek medical assistance
  • Wash it well with soap and water if it touches your skin. Consult a doctor if the irritation persists after washing

What is the Fire Handling Method?

Although Graphite is not flammable, fires can still develop when this element is heated. Here are some procedures to take in the event of a fire:

  • Spray water over fire-exposed containers to keep them cool. Cool containers that have been exposed to flames with water until the fire has been extinguished
  • Do not inhale the gases if a fire or explosion happens
  • If it is safe, remove containers from the fire area
  • A flame-resistant coat, gloves, a helmet with a face shield, and rubber boots are all standard protection gear for firefighters
  • Directly poured water on fire will only spread it. The fire could produce caustic, unpleasant, and potentially dangerous gases

You can learn more here

How is the Storage of Graphite to Prevent Flame?

  • Keep in a well-ventilated environment
  • Close the container tightly. Store in a secure location with limited access
  • Store in a cool and dry location
  • 15–25 °C is the recommended storage temperature
  • Keep a safe distance from food, water, and animal feed

Conclusion

Graphite is utilized in a wide range of applications. Graphite is distinguished from other chemical elements by its unique characteristics. Graphite is not combustible at average temperature, but it can generate flames when heated. 

The use of Graphite comes with a set of dangers. As a result, it must be handled with caution and under all applicable health and safety standards.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs): Is Graphite Flammable?

Are Graphite and Diamond the Same Thing?

Diamond is a structural modification (allotrope) of carbon that is the hardest substance on the surface of the Earth. In contrast, Graphite is an allotrope of carbon that is the most fragile.

Is it possible to Use Graphite as Fuel?

In a fuel cell, Graphite is utilized as a conductive material for the bipolar plates, which constitute an essential part of the structure. To optimize electrical and thermal conductivity and assure long-term operation, fuel cell graphite used to make bipolar plates must be pure and high-quality.

Citations

https://cameochemicals.noaa.gov/chemical/25027
https://www.fishersci.com/store/msds?partNumber=G67500&productDescription=GRAPHITE+POWDER+500G&vendorId=VN00033897&countryCode=US&language=en

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