Bonding Arrangement

  • In graphite each carbon atom is bonded to three others forming layers of hexagonal shaped forms, leaving one free electron per carbon atom.
  • These free electrons exist in between the layers and are free to move and carry charge, hence graphite can conduct electricity.
  • The covalent bonds within the layers are very strong but the layers are connected to each other by weak intermolecular forces only, hence the layers can slide over each other making graphite slippery and smooth.
  • Graphite thus:
    • Conducts electricity and heat.
    • Has a very high melting point.
    • Is soft and slippery, less dense than diamond (2.25 g/cm3).

Bonding in Graphite, IGCSE & GCSE Chemistry revision notes

Diagram showing the structure and bonding arrangement in graphite

Uses

  • Graphite ́s weak intermolecular forces make it a useful material.
  • Graphite is used in pencils and as an industrial lubricant, in engines and in locks.
  • It is also used to make non-reactive electrodes for electrolysis which is of a particularly important industrial application in the extraction of metals such as aluminium.

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Morgan Curtin Chemistry

Author: Morgan

Morgan’s passion for the Periodic Table begun on his 10th birthday when he received his first Chemistry set. After studying the subject at university he went on to become a fully fledged Chemistry teacher, and now works in an international school in Madrid! In his spare time he helps create our fantastic resources to help you ace your exams.