Carbon vs. Graphite

Difference Between Carbon and Graphite Carbon and graphite are carbon and graphite is an allotrope of carbon which…

Difference Between Carbon and Graphite

Carbon and graphite are carbon and graphite is an allotrope of carbon which is a form of carbon with high stablity. Carbon is a non metal known to mankind since time immemorial. Human beings have used different forms of carbon, also called its allotropes, such as charcoal, soot, graphite and diamond. Earlier it was not clearly known that all these substances were different forms of carbon and it was only lately discovered when scientists have learned of allotropes of carbon. Carbon word is derived from Latin carbo meaning charcoal. Carbon is a naturally occurring element and is the fourth most abundant element in nature. It plays a crucial role in human and plant life because of carbon cycle.


The number of carbon atoms is 6 and is represented by the letter C. Carbon is blessed in the sense that its molecular structure allows it to combine with thousands of other substances to form different compounds whose is known as organic chemistry. The carbon molecules do not combine with other substances only but they combine with each other in many different combinations and form carbon allotropes. Such a carbon allotrope is graphite which is a soft substance. Another form of carbon is diamond, which is the hardest substance found on Earth. The physical properties of different forms of carbon are completely different.

Carbon, when it is found in its pure form is relatively inactive and does not have toxins. All creatures contain carbon in the form of carbon dioxide and when they decompose they are provide us with fossil fuels in the form of coal and oil. Plants and animals are converted into fossil fuels by the pressure of rocks for thousands of years. Some forms of carbon are harmful to human beings as carbon monoxide.


An allotrope of carbon is a soft slippery substance that is used as pencils leads and lubricants. It is also used in making high temperature crucibles, dry cell batteries and electrodes. It was discovered by Abraham Gottlob Werner in 1789 and named for its ability to draw and write (the Greek word Graphein). Unlike diamond, graphite is a conductor of electricity. This is why it is use in electric arc electrodes. It also believed that graphite is the strongest form of carbon.

It was found that numerous Crystallographic imperfections result in loss of lubricity of graphite. This then becomes another form of carbon known as pyrolytic carbon that is extremely useful in creating the prosthetic valves of the heart.

In its pure form glass, graphite is very strong and heat resistant which is why it is used to make missile re-entry shields, rocket engines high temperature, brake shoes and brushes motor electric cars. The expandable graphite is used in making heat doors which absorb heat during a fire and prevent the spread of fumes and flames. Graphite is a very strong form of carbon, but at very high temperature, it can be converted to diamond. It burns at 700 degree Celsius and releases carbon dioxide.


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