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Graphite vs. Graphene: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Published on December 3, 2023
Graphite is a naturally occurring form of carbon arranged in layers, while graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms in a hexagonal lattice.

Key Differences

Graphite, a common allotrope of carbon, is composed of multiple layers of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. Graphene, on the other hand, is a single layer of carbon atoms from this lattice.
The layers in graphite are held together by weak van der Waals forces, allowing them to slide over each other easily. However, graphene, being only one layer thick, exhibits unique electronic and mechanical properties.
Graphite is used in pencils, lubricants, and as electrodes due to its electrical conductivity and layered structure. While, graphene, with its remarkable strength and conductivity, has potential in electronics, composites, and energy storage.
Graphite is a naturally occurring mineral found in metamorphic and igneous rocks, while graphene is typically produced synthetically through methods like chemical vapor deposition.
The electrical properties of graphite, such as its ability to conduct electricity, are less pronounced than those of graphene, which is an excellent electrical conductor.

Comparison Chart

Basic Structure

Multiple layers of carbon atoms in a hexagonal lattice
A single layer of carbon atoms in a hexagonal lattice

Physical Properties

Soft, slippery, and conductive
Extremely strong, lightweight, and conductive

Common Uses

Pencils, lubricants, electrodes
Potential in advanced electronics, composites, sensors


Naturally occurring mineral
Synthetically produced

Electrical Conductivity

Good conductor of electricity
Superior electrical conductor

Graphite and Graphene Definitions


A good conductor of electricity, used in electrodes.
Graphite electrodes are essential in steel production.


A single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice.
Graphene is known for its incredible strength and thinness.


A common material in batteries and refractories.
Graphite is used in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries.


A material with exceptional electrical and thermal conductivity.
Graphene is being researched for use in advanced electronic devices.


A soft, crystalline form of carbon.
Graphite is easily identifiable by its black, shiny appearance.


The basic building block for other carbon allotropes.
Graphene sheets stacked together form graphite.


A mineral used as a lubricant due to its slippery nature.
Graphite lubricants are used in high-temperature environments.


A potential material for use in transparent conductive films.
Graphene could revolutionize touchscreen technology.


A naturally occurring form of carbon with a layered structure.
Graphite is commonly used in the lead of pencils.


A substance with high surface area and mechanical strength.
Graphene composites are being developed for aerospace applications.


A soft crystalline allotrope of carbon, composed of graphene layers, having a steel-gray to black metallic luster and a greasy feel, used in lead pencils, lubricants, paints and coatings, and fabricated into a variety of forms such as molds, bricks, electrodes, crucibles, and rocket nozzles. Also called black lead, plumbago.


A monolayer of carbon atoms having a hexagonal lattice structure and constituting a basic structural element of graphite, fullerenes, and carbon nanotubes.


An allotrope of carbon, consisting of planes of carbon atoms arranged in hexagonal arrays with the planes stacked loosely, that is used as a dry lubricant, in "lead" pencils, and as a moderator in some nuclear reactors.


(organic chemistry) Any polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon having the structure of part of a layer of graphite.


Short for graphite-reinforced plastic, a composite plastic made with graphite fibers noted for light weight strength and stiffness.
Modern tennis racquets are made of graphite, fibreglass and other man-made materials.


(inorganic chemistry) An arbitrarily large-scale, one-atom-thick layer of graphite, an allotrope of carbon, that has remarkable electric characteristics.


A grey colour, resembling graphite or the marks made with a graphite pencil.


(transitive) To apply graphite to.


Native carbon in hexagonal crystals, also foliated or granular massive, of black color and metallic luster, and so soft as to leave a trace on paper. It is used for pencils (improperly called lead pencils), for crucibles, and as a lubricator, etc. Often called plumbago or black lead.


Used as a lubricant and as a moderator in nuclear reactors


How is graphite formed?

Naturally, from carbon under high pressure and temperature.

How is graphene different from graphite?

Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms, unlike the multiple layers in graphite.

What are common uses of graphite?

In pencils, as a lubricant, and in electrical electrodes.

Can graphite conduct electricity?

Yes, it's a good conductor of electricity.

How strong is graphene?

It's one of the strongest materials known.

What potential applications does graphene have?

In advanced electronics, strong composites, and energy storage.

Why is graphene considered revolutionary?

Due to its unique combination of strength, thinness, and conductivity.

Is graphite soft or hard?

Graphite is relatively soft and slippery.

What is the thickness of graphene?

It's just one atom thick.

What is graphite?

A natural form of carbon with a layered structure.

Is graphene naturally occurring?

No, it's usually produced synthetically.

Are there any health risks associated with graphene?

Research is ongoing, but some forms of graphene may pose risks if inhaled.

Are there different types of graphite?

Yes, including flake, amorphous, and vein graphite.

Can graphene be seen with the naked eye?

No, it's too thin to be seen without special equipment.

What is the melting point of graphite?

It sublimates at about 3,900°C without melting.

How is graphite mined?

Through open pit and underground mining methods.

Can graphite be used in high-temperature applications?

Yes, due to its stability at high temperatures.

Is graphite used in batteries?

Yes, particularly in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries.

Can graphene be used in medicine?

It's being explored for uses in drug delivery and biosensors.

How is graphene produced?

Through methods like mechanical exfoliation and chemical vapor deposition.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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