DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Graphite. False-colour scanning electron micrograph of scratches on the surface of a lubricating film of graphite. Graphite is a soft, slippery, crystalline form of carbon, widely used as a lubricant. It is applied to a surface in the form of an aqueous colloid (small particles of graphite suspended in water) & allowed to dry. The graphite forms a continuous sheet covering the surface & is gradually abraded as other parts rub against it. The lubricating nature of graphite is due to its molecular structure. The carbon atoms are arranged in arrays of flat hexagons, forming flakey plates (as seen here), which slip easily across each other. Mag: x300 at 35mm size.
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