Graphite is a shiny grey mineral that naturally occurs when carbon in rocks becomes crystalline. It consists of parallel sheets of carbon atoms in a hexagonal array and requires considerable pressure and temperature to form. A single sheet of graphite is called graphene and there are approximately three million layers of graphene in one millimetre of graphite.
It has unique properties including very high thermal and electrical conductivity and is used in thousands of applications and products with major consumption by the steel and manufacturing industries. Graphite is finding new markets with use in products as diverse as insulation panels and battery/energy technologies whilst graphene is the subject of major commercialisation efforts and expected to initially find large market share in conductive inks and polymer composities.