Graphite is an allotropic element of carbon, which is derived naturally through metamorphic rocks. Additionally, it can be produced synthetically by processing of coal tar, coke, petroleum and other hydrocarbons. The material is opaque, grey, self-lubricating with high electrical & thermal conductive, temperature resistance and corrosive resistance characteristics. The material poses the features of both non-metal and metal that enables the door of application to various end- uses. Major application area of graphite comprises refractories, metal foundry, battery, fuel cells and lubrication. The global market demand of graphite is led by its application in refractories, due to high thermal resistance, it is consumed in the lines of furnace and bricks. In addition, lubrication is another major application of graphite in that is expected to boost the global demand in future. However, low specific gravity , wear resistance, resistance to oxidation are the properties that limit the application in die casting , manufacture of rocket nozzle and many more which are declining the demand over the years.
Asia Pacific has the largest market of graphite, increasing application in automotive, batteries, refractories are the key factor which drives the demand in the region. China and India are main leading countries in the region that shows demand due to increased population and rising demand in steel industries and solar panels. Moreover, North America followed by Europe, shows much demand of the material due to consumption on refractories, lubrication, nuclear reactor, etc. Steady growth in steel production is likely to boost the demand in Middle East and African region.
Natural and synthetic are two major product segments on the base of origin of total global graphite market.
Natural graphite: The natural occurring graphite has good conductance of electricity and optimum cost. The material can be processed in various forms such as expanded and spherical, depending on the end-use application. Production of Li-on batteries, cells, solar panel are major application area of the material.
Synthetic graphite: The grade of graphite offers high level of purity and low electrical conductance. The cost of synthetic graphite is relatively high. The major consuming sectors for this grade are nanotubes, refractories, carbon brushes, motor bearing, etc.
Coke, carbon black, natural graphite are the major raw material sources of graphite manufacturing. Initially, the powder of raw material is prepared after crushing it in the ball mills or crusher. Further, the coal tar with carbon powder is applied on the crushed raw material in order to from a blend mixture. In the next process, shape forming of the blended mixture is done, using different techniques such as die molding, extrusion molding and isostatic pressing. Furthermore, heat treatment operation of the material, carbonization followed by graphitization takes place that results the transformation of material to crystalline form and reduction of impurities such as gases, residue, oxides and sulfur. Finally, chemical vapor decomposition process is done to make the material ultra-pure, increase the thermal & electrical properties and stability of the product.
Key players of graphite in the global market are Asbury Graphite Mills lnc, SGL group, Showa Denko K.K., Weihou Carbon, Nippon carbon, IBIDEN, Mersen, Mason graphite, Fangda carbon, Focus Graphite lnc., SEC carbon, Graphite India Ltd, DaTong Xincheng, Toyo Tanso, GrafTech, Tokai Carbon, Flinder resources ltd., Northern Graphite Corporation, Schunk, Lamboo Resources, etc.
The graphite is anisotropic, offers extra ordinary combination of properties and has consumption in various end-use sectors. Due to high thermal resistance, inertness and self-lubricating, it is consumed in manufacture of Li-on batteries, fuel cells, and other energy storage application. Moreover, the brush of electric motor, gaskets, industrial lubricants, etc. seems to be major end-use of the product in electrical and electronic sector. Furthermore, it finds application area in processing of steel, refractory furnace, foundry and nuclear processing.
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On the basis of Natural Graphite-Subtype:
On the basis of Region:
Middle East & Africa