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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).

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

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

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