The Story Behind Flexible Graphite
Some sources say that an enormous deposit of graphite was discovered in Borrowdale Parish, England, around 1500. At the time, graphite was used as a refractory material to line molds for cannon balls, resulting in rounder, smoother ammunition that could be fired further, hence the growing superiority of the English navy.
But a half century ago, it was graphite flake that inspired Union Carbide to make a product that was “flexible” and had all the characteristics of graphite. It displayed properties of thermal stability, thermal conductivity, was naturally lubricious, and resistant to most chemicals; but it was flexible, compact, conformable to any cavity, and extremely resilient.
In 1985, EGC created Thermafoil®, a material that is controlled by specification and in which vendor selection is critical. Thermafoil is processed from naturally occurring graphite which is chemically treated to form a compound between layers of structured elements. This intercalation is then heated rapidly to a state of decomposition resulting in an eighty-fold expansion (exfoliation) in size when compared to raw flake and creating a worm-like structure which is molded or calendared into sheets.
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