Difference Between Graphite and Carbon

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Graphite vs Carbon

The main difference between Graphite and Carbon is that Graphite is an allotrope of carbon that 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 completely made up of only carbon atoms, but its physical structure is different. Its unique physical structure is different that makes it different from conventional carbon elements.

Carbon is one of the important elements among 118 known elements. It is an element having atomic number six.

Comparison Table Between Graphite and Carbon

Parameters of ComparisonGraphite Carbon
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 that is a particular structure of carbon atoms.Carbon occurs in various forms, which results in millions of compounds of carbon.
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 the 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, layer by layer, it forms a crystal structure.

It occurs in different forms naturally. For example, Amorphous Graphite, Lump Graphite, Highly ordered pyrolytic graphite, 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 name ‘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. The property of Carbon is dependent 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 hardest material ever known.

All living things are made up of carbon; hence it is an important element for all possible life anywhere. Other than living things, it is important in many ways.

Carbon

Main Differences Between Graphite and Carbon

  1. Graphite and Carbon both are chemically the same, but the physical structure makes them different. Graphite has a hexagonal structure, but carbon can be found in various 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 the properties of carbon are dependent upon the different allotropes it forms.
  5. Graphite is used as a lubricant in pencils, electrodes, etc. on the other hand, Carbon has many uses because of its many allotropes.
Difference Between Graphite and Carbon

Conclusion

Chemistry can be interesting if we try to understand the importance and uniqueness of all the elements. Every element has unique properties that make them different.

Carbon is an element having million of compounds and many allotropes. Graphite is one of the allotropes of 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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