Uses of synthetic graphite

Uses of synthetic graphite

Electrodes: These electrodes carry the electricity that melts scrap iron and steel (and sometimes direct-reduced iron: DRI) in electric arc furnaces, the vast majority of steel furnaces. They are made from Petroleum coke after it is mixed with coal tar pitch, extruded and shaped, then baked to carbonize the binder (pitch), and then graphitized by heating it to temperatures approaching 3000 °C, that converts carbon to graphite.

Powder and scrap: The graphite scrap comes from pieces of unusable electrode material (in the manufacturing stage or after use) and lathe turnings, usually after crushing and sizing. Most synthetic graphite powder goes to carbon raising in steel (competing with natural graphite), with some used in batteries and brake linings.

Neutron moderator: Special grades of synthetic graphite also find use as a matrix and neutron moderator within nuclear reactors. Its low neutron cross section also recommends it for use in proposed fusion reactors. Care must be taken that reactor-grade graphite is free of neutron absorbing materials such as boron, widely used as the seed electrode in commercial graphite deposition systems.

Other uses: Graphite(Carbon) fiber and carbon nano-tubes are also used in carbon fire reinforced plastics and in heat-resistant composites such as reinforced carbon-carbon (RCC). Commercial structures made from carbon fiber graphite composites include fishing rods, golf club shafts, bicycle frames, sports car body panels, the fuselage of the Boeing 787 Dream-liner and pool cue sticks and have been successfully employed in reinforced concrete.