Graphite was named by Abraham Gottlob Werner in 1789. Werner derived this name from the Greek verb "graphein" meaning "to write". Graphite, like diamonds, is a polymer of carbon. Graphite has three naturally occurring forms - flake, amorphous, and lump. All three are found in metamorphic as well as igneous rocks, varying by grade, particle (mesh) size and moisture content.
The perfect storm that is driving graphite is its unique set of properties that separates it from uranium or rare earths materials. Graphite is a very unique material as it is one of the lightest of all reinforcing agents while possessing the highest natural strength and stiffness of any material. As a conductor of electricity, graphite far surpasses the efficiency of copper and other known materials. In addition, graphite is an excellent conductor of heat and it maintains its strength and stability to temperatures in excess of 3,600°C.
The projected demand for natural graphite increasingly places it in the category of a critical strategic material in the world's resource supply. Much of this anticipated demand is due to the use of graphite for emerging "green" technology applications that include lithium-ion batteries, pebble bed nuclear reactors, vanadium redox batteries and fuel cells; engineering materials for use in solar technologies, semiconductor manufacturing, electronic heat sinks, and powder metallurgy; and carbon additives for conductive coatings, plastics, paints and carbon fibers.
Not since the invention of steel has there been a substance that can potentially revolutionize and change the world in a dramatic way.
Graphite is also at the center of a 21st century revolution in technology with graphene, the remarkable two-dimensional wonder material that has great potential to be a game-changer in the worlds of physics, technology and industry.
Graphene is a discovery so revolutionary that is already being used in hundreds of new technological applications at the research and development stage with hundreds of new patents already filed involving graphene. Bendable phones, graphene computer chips, coatings for reinforcement and strength, coatings for efficiencies, space elevators and so much more. This is just the beginning of discovery when it comes to graphene.
Carbon, the basis of all known life on earth, has surprised us once again.