Graphite vs Carbon: Difference and Comparison

Science is everywhere. We can see it in the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, etc. It is the study of everything around us.

Key Takeaways

  1. Graphite is a soft, black, and slippery material, while carbon is a chemical element with a dull appearance and varied physical properties.
  2. Graphite has a higher heat, corrosion, and electricity resistance, while carbon has a lower melting point and reacts with oxygen at high temperatures.
  3. Graphite makes electrodes, pencils, lubricants, and crucibles, while carbon is used in steel production, fuel cells, and carbon fiber production.

Graphite vs Carbon

Graphite is an allotrope of carbon which means it is carbon. Chemically it is carbon, but its physical properties make it different from carbon.

Graphite vs Carbon

Graphite is an allotrope of carbon, which means it is chemically the same as carbon, it is wholly made up of only carbon atoms, but its physical structure is different. Its unique physical form makes it different from conventional carbon elements.

Carbon is one of the most critical elements among 118 known elements. It is an element with the atomic number six.

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGraphiteCarbon
Meaning Graphite is an allotrope of carbon.Carbon is one of the elements among the 118 known elements.
Etymology Graphite is made from the Greek word graphein, which means ‘to write.’Carbon is made from the Latin word carbo, which means Charcoal.
Structure Graphite has a hexagonal layer lattice structure.Carbon does not have any fixed or particular structure.
Occurrence Graphite occurs only in one form, a particular structure of carbon atoms.Carbon occurs in various forms, resulting in millions of carbon compounds.
UseGraphite has limited uses, like coolant and lubricant.Carbon has many uses in various forms like crude oil, nutrients, etc.

What is Graphite?

Graphite is an allotrope of carbon. Carbon has many forms and structures. Graphite is the crystalline structure of carbon atoms.

In graphite, one carbon atom is bonded with three other carbon atoms using a covalent bond. It forms a hexagonal layer of carbon atoms and layer by layer; it creates a crystal structure.

It occurs in different forms naturally. For example, Amorphous Graphite, Lump Graphite, Highly ordered pyrolytic graphite, and Crystalline Graphite are some examples of different forms of graphite.

It is anisotropic and feels greasy when touched. It also conducts electricity.

Graphite

What is Carbon?

Carbon is the sixth element of the modern periodic table. It belongs to the second period and fourteenth group of the periodic table.

Carbon gets its name from its Latin word, ‘carbo,’ which means coal. 

It forms million of compounds because of its tetravalent and catenation property. These vast amounts of compounds are studied in different groups.

After Hydrogen, Helium, and Oxygen, it is the most abundant element in the whole universe. Carbon’s property depends on its different allotropes; for example, Graphite, an allotrope of Carbon, is the softest material, whereas another allotrope of carbon, known as diamond, is the most complex material ever known.

All living things are made of carbon; hence, it is essential for all possible life anywhere. Other than living things, it is necessary for many ways.

Carbon

Main Differences Between Graphite and Carbon

  1. Graphite and Carbon are chemically the same, but their physical structure makes them different. Graphite has a hexagonal design, but carbon can be found in form structures.
  2. Graphite is found in only various forms of Graphite. On the other hand, Carbon has different forms like a diamond, graphite, etc.
  3. Graphite is made from the Greek word graphein, which means ‘to write,’ whereas Carbon is made from the Latin word ‘Carbo,’ which means Charcoal.
  4. Graphite is very smooth and conducts electricity, but carbon’s properties depend upon the different allotropes it forms.
  5. On the other hand, Graphite is used as a lubricant in pencils, electrodes, etc.; Carbon has many uses because of its many allotropes.
Difference Between Graphite and Carbon
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378775301006711
  2. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev.ms.03.080173.001211
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