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Graphite is a non-oxide engineering ceramic. It has the lowest thermal conductivity among non-oxide engineering ceramics. In addition, it has the lowest tensile strength and a very low density. The graph bars on the material properties cards below compare graphite to other non-oxide engineering ceramics (top) and the entire database (bottom). A full bar means this is the highest value in the relevant set. A half-full bar means it's 50% of the highest, and so on.

Mechanical Properties

Compressive (Crushing) Strength

90 MPa 13 x 103 psi

Elastic (Young's, Tensile) Modulus

21 GPa 3.0 x 106 psi

Flexural Strength

80 MPa 12 x 103 psi

Tensile Strength: Ultimate (UTS)

18 MPa 2.6 x 103 psi

Thermal Properties

Maximum Temperature: Corrosion

180 °C 360 °F

Maximum Temperature: Mechanical

220 °C 430 °F

Thermal Conductivity

6.0 W/m-K 3.5 BTU/h-ft-°F

Thermal Expansion

4.9 µm/m-K

Otherwise Unclassified Properties

Calomel Potential

250 mV


1.8 g/cm3 110 lb/ft3

Common Calculations

Stiffness to Weight: Axial

6.7 points

Stiffness to Weight: Bending

53 points

Strength to Weight: Axial

2.9 points

Strength to Weight: Bending

8.7 points

Thermal Shock Resistance

12 points

Followup Questions

Further Reading

Springer Handbook of Condensed Matter and Materials Data, W. Martienssen and H. Warlimont (editors), 2005

CRC Materials Science and Engineering Handbook, 4th ed., James F. Shackelford et al. (editors), 2015