The U.S. and its allies plan to impose sanctions on more Russian industries and supply chains.
The US government representatives recently visited Europe to consult with allies on strengthening and enforcing sanctions to punish Russia. They also plan to take action to disrupt their critical supply chains.
The US government claims that the sanctions imposed on Russia since the invasion began on February 24 have proved extremely effective, plunging Russia into a financial crisis. The sanctions include a freeze on the Russian central bank's foreign exchange assets, a ban on hard currency transactions by major Russian banks and wealthy individuals, and export restrictions on advanced semiconductors and other technologies. The sanctions have weakened the Russian economy and left the Kremlin with fewer resources.
The volatile international political situations will continue to affect the markets and prices of many commodities like the natural graphite.
Given that what is prepared from natural graphite is usually artificial graphite in the narrow sense, this paper will only analyze and discuss the differences and links between natural graphite and artificial graphite in the narrow sense.
The crystal development of natural graphite is relatively complete, the graphitization degree of natural flake graphite is usually above 98%, and the graphitization degree of natural microcrystalline graphite is usually below 93%.
The degree of crystal development of artificial graphite depends on the raw material and the heat treatment temperature. Generally speaking, the higher the heat treatment temperature, the higher the degree of graphitization. At present, the degree of graphitization of artificial graphite produced in the industry is usually less than 90%.
Natural flake graphite is a single crystal with a relatively simple structure, with only crystallographic defects (point defects, dislocations, stacking faults, etc.), and macroscopically showing anisotropic structural characteristics. The grains of natural microcrystalline graphite are small, the grains are disorderly arranged, and there are pores after the impurities are removed, showing the isotropic structural characteristics on the macroscopic level.
Artificial graphite can be seen as a multi-phase material consisting of a graphite phase transformed by carbonaceous particles such as petroleum coke or pitch coke, a graphite phase transformed by a coal bitumen binder encapsulated around the particles, particle accumulation, or pores formed after heat treatment of coal tar binder, etc.
Natural graphite usually exists in powder form and can be used alone, but is usually used in combination with other materials.
There are many forms of artificial graphite, including powder, fiber, and block, while artificial graphite in the narrow sense is usually blocked, which needs to be processed into a certain shape when used.
Physical and chemical properties
Natural graphite and artificial graphite have both commonalities and differences in performance. For example, both natural graphite and artificial graphite are good conductors of heat and electricity, but for graphite powders of the same purity and particle size, natural flake graphite has the best heat transfer performance and electrical conductivity, followed by natural microcrystalline graphite and artificial graphite the lowest.
Graphite has good lubricity and certain plasticity. Natural flake graphite has better crystal development, smaller friction coefficient, best lubricity, and highest plasticity, while dense crystalline graphite and cryptocrystalline graphite are second, and artificial graphite is worse.
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Russia is a major supplier of industrial metals such as nickel, aluminium and palladium. Russia and Ukraine are both major wheat exporters, and Russia and Belarus produce large amounts of potash, an input to fertiliser. The price and market of the natural graphite will fluctuate under its influence. Prices of these goods have been rising since 2022 and are now likely to rise further because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Russia is a major supplier of industrial metals such as nickel, aluminium and palladium. Russia and Ukraine are both major wheat exporters, and Russia and Belarus produce large amounts of potash, an input to fertiliser. The price and market of the natural graphite will fluctuate under its influence. Prices of these goods have been rising since 2022 and are now likely to rise further because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
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