What Are Graphite Electrodes?


If you are in the steel making industry, you may know how important graphite electrodes are. Steel is melted in huge arc furnaces, and the heat comes from an electrode made from a special kind of carbon. What are these things and why are they commonly used as electrodes? Let’s take a closer look and see.

How is Graphite Made?

Although it is mined, it’s also synthesized by heating mixed coke with pitch, to a temperature of one thousand degrees Celsius to form carbon. The carbon is them exposed to a three thousand degree Celsius furnace, where it’s turned into crystalline graphite.

Why Use Graphitized Carbon for Electrodes?

The huge graphite electrodes in arc furnaces conduct a great deal of electricity. In fact, it forms an arc like a welder. This arc generates a great deal of heat that can melt iron. Arc furnaces don’t work on the same principle as induction furnaces. These furnaces have a shell, hearth, and roof. Materials in the furnace are continually exposed to electric current from large carbonized electrodes.

Because the heat is extremely high in an arc furnace, it requires electrodes that can withstand very high temperatures without changing shape or melting. It’s also important to have materials that are light in weight yet very durable. There are several kinds of metals that can meet these standards, but they would be far too expensive to use as electrodes. That’s why synthetically manufactured graphite electrodes are used. They are the most cost-effective materials.

Choosing the Right Electrodes for Your Applications

It’s important to choose the right materials and sizes when you need carbon electrodes for your business. In fact, you should consider:

* Type of furnace
* Burner types
* Electric power needed
* Scrap needs
* Charging methods
* Cooling system

Your graphite materials provider can help you choose the best electrodes for your business.

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