Graphite cement typically refers to a material with adhesive and bonding physical properties that contains graphite as one of its primary components. This is not your typical cement, one of the most ubiquitous, and necessary, building materials used by people today. Your typical cement is made of forms of lime, silica, iron, and aluminum. Like manufactured graphite, cement’s formula can be adjusted to suit specific purposes. One of those materials that can be added to cement to give it certain properties is graphite. Graphite is a form of carbon known for its excellent electrical conductivity, lubricating properties, and high temperature resistance. When graphite is combined with other building materials in a cement-like formulation, the resulting material can be used for various applications. Below are a few characteristics of graphite cement, followed by potential uses of this product.
Physical Properties of Graphite Cement
Graphite cement can conduct heat effectively due to the presence of graphite. This property makes it suitable for applications where heat dissipation or thermal management is important, such as in electronic devices. If a device needs the heat produced within to flow out, then graphite cement is an excellent choice of bonding agent.
Graphite is an excellent conductor of electricity. Graphite cement can be used to bond or connect electrical components in a way that maintains electrical conductivity while providing mechanical stability.
Graphite is also known for its ability to withstand high temperatures. Graphite cement can be used in applications where materials need to endure extreme heat conditions. One practical application of graphite cement, for instance, is fixing broken resistance heating elements. Fun fact: graphite cement remains secure at temperatures up to 5000ºF (Approx.2700ºC) in inert atmospheres.
Graphite has natural lubricating properties. In some cases, graphite cement may be used as a lubricating adhesive, particularly in applications involving moving parts or where friction needs to be reduced. It is important to note that when graphite cement is used to bond blocks of machined graphite, care must be taken to remove any graphite dust. Since graphite is a dry lubricant, graphite dust can disrupt the bonding process.
Depending on the specific formulation, graphite cement can offer resistance to certain chemicals and environmental conditions. This is especially true of acidic substances, like hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid, which graphite resists well.
Practical Applications of Graphite Cement
Sealing and Gasket Applications
Graphite-based cements are often used in sealing applications, such as creating gaskets for pipes, valves, and other industrial equipment. They can provide an effective barrier against gas and fluid leakage. Graphite cement can even be used to attach sight tubes and pouring spouts, set molds and dies, seal plugs, repair subsectors, and join carbon foam and felt.
Heat Sink Bonding
In electronics and thermal management, graphite cement can be used to bond heat sinks to semiconductor devices or other components, ensuring efficient heat transfer.Working with cement graphite can be tricky and requires proper conditions and careful preparation (see our earlier Semco blog about Graphite Cement for tips on using this material). One of the great things about this wonderful building material is that once it sets, it is completely machinable. If you have other questions about the physical properties or practical applications of graphite cement, reach out to us here at Semco.