Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Graphites naturalis

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Carbo minerals, Cerussa nigra, Plumbago;

Etymology

From the Greek verb graphein, "to write."

Family

Traditional name

Italian: Grafite
English: Plumbago

Used parts

Trituration of prepared Black Lead from finest English drawing-pencils. A modification of carbon.

Classification

Minerals; Inorganic; Column Four

Keywords

carbon-like

Original proving

First idea of using this substance as a drug is of S. Swinhold. Ruggieri used it later internally as well as externally. Allen's Encyclop. Mat. Med. Vol. IV, 647.

Description of the substance

A blackish - grey, soft, unctuous, lustrous, solid composed of hexagonal crystalline scales; odourless. Its specific gravity is 2.0 to 2.5 and is a good conductor of electricity. Next to diamond it is the purest form of mineral carbon, and occurs in nature.
Also called plumbago, or black lead mineral consisting of carbon. Graphite has a layered structure that consists of rings of six carbon atoms arranged in widely spaced horizontal sheets.
Graphite thus crystallizes in the hexagonal system, in contrast to the same element crystallizing in the octahedral or tetrahedral system as diamond. Such dimorphous pairs usually are rather similar in their physical properties, but not so in this case. Graphite is dark gray to black, opaque, and very soft (with a hardness of 1 1/2 on the Mohs scale), while diamond may be colourless and transparent and is the hardest naturally occurring substance. Graphite has a greasy feel and leaves a black mark, thus the name from the Greek verb graphein, "to write."
Graphite is formed by the metamorphosis of sediments containing carbonaceous material, by the reaction of carbon compounds with hydrothermal solutions or magmatic fluids, or possibly by the crystallization of magmatic carbon. It occurs as isolated scales, large masses, or veins in older crystalline rocks, gneiss, schist, quartzite, and marble and also in granites, pegmatites, and carbonaceous clay slates. Small isometric crystals of graphitic carbon (possibly pseudomorphs after diamond) found in meteoritic iron are called cliftonite. It is mined extensively in Sri Lanka; Madagascar; North Korea; Sonora, Mex.; Ontario; western Siberia; and New York. Graphite was first synthesized accidentally by Edward G. Acheson while he was performing high-temperature experiments on carborundum. He found that at about 4,150° C (7,500° F) the silicon in the carborundum vaporized, leaving the carbon behind in graphitic form. Acheson was granted a patent for graphite manufacture in 1896, and commercial production started in 1897. Since 1918, petroleum coke, small and imperfect graphite crystals surrounded by organic compounds, has been the major raw material in the production of 99 to 99.5 percent pure graphite.