What distinguishes the diamond from graphite?

Solid playing on the diamond light and transparent, easy exfoliating graphite figuratively be called brothers. After all, in the chemical composition of both there is a single element – carbon. Find out why, having a common origin, these minerals are so unlike each other and what distinguishes diamond from graphite.

The content of the article


Diamond is a mineral, which is based on carbon. Characterized by metastability, i.e., the ability under normal conditions to exist indefinitely in an unchanged form. The placement of a diamond in specific conditions, for example in vacuum at elevated temperature, leads to its transition in graphite.


Graphite is a mineral acting as a modification of carbon. The friction from the common mass of matter separated scales. The most famous application of graphite production from the pencil stylus.


to contents ↑the Difference between diamond and graphite

A phenomenon in which substances have different properties, but are formed by common chemical element is called allotropy. However, in nature, perhaps, there will be no more such completely different allotropic forms of the same element. What explains the difference of diamond from graphite?

A crucial role is played by features of the crystal structure of each of the substances. Say about the diamond. The connection between his atoms are incredibly durable. This is due to their arrangement relative to each other. Adjacent nuclear cell substances have a cubic shape. Particles are placed in the corners of cells on their faces and inside them. This type of structure is called tetrahedral.

Cell diamond

This geometry of the atoms provides the most dense of their organization, so the diamond becomes solid, not susceptible to deformation. However it is a fragile substance that can crack on impact. The structure is also due to the high thermal conductivity of diamond and a property of crystals to refract light.

Graphite has a different structure. At the atomic level it consists of layers located in different planes. Each layer are adjacent to each other in hexagons, like a honeycomb. The bond between atoms, which are the vertices of hexagons, strong only within each layer. And atoms located in different layers, almost independent from each other.

The structure of graphite

Trace from a pencil is easily detachable layers of graphite. Substance because of the characteristics of the structure absorbs light, taking a fairly nondescript appearance (but with a metallic sheen), and has conductivity.

The inherent properties of minerals determine their suitability in a particular area. What is the difference between diamond and graphite in relation to their application? Dazzling diamond perfect for jewelry production. And the hardness of this material allows manufacture of a high quality glass cutters, super drills and other in-demand products.

The graphite rods in the flow of many processes play a role of electrodes. Powdered graphite is included with mineral paints and is used as a lubricant. And from a mixture of this substance and clay produce special containers for melting metals.

to content ↑Comparative table


Tetrahedral structure
The layered structure

Solid, but fragile
It peels off easily


High thermal conductivity
The electrical conductivity

Examples of usage: jewelry production, manufacture cutters
Examples of use: lead pencils, lubricant

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