# Understand Diamond and Graphite

In this worksheet, students will learn how diamond and graphite are similar and how they are different.

### QUESTION 1 of 10

Diamond and graphite are made of the same atoms, but their properties are totally different! How does this work?

Both diamond and graphite have giant structures made of pure carbon, but they have different patterns of bonds between the carbon atoms.

Diamonds are incredibly hard; they are one of the hardest materials known to humanity. The reason diamonds are good jewels is that they are so hard. This means that they don't get scratched, so they stay shiny.

The structure of diamond is a giant covalent structure. Every carbon atom is linked to four other carbon atoms by covalent bonds. All the bonds in the diamond structure are covalent, so every single bond is very strong - there are no weak links in the structure. This also means that the melting temperature of diamond is extremely high - about 3350 °C. There are no free electrons or ions, so diamond cannot conduct electricity.

Graphite is also made of carbon, but the arrangement of the atoms is very different.

This picture shows the graphite structure. There are hexagonal rings of carbon atoms, which link together to make sheets. The bonds in the sheets are covalent, so each sheet is very strong. The bonds holding the layers together are much weaker. This means that the layers can slide over each other easily. When you write with a pencil, the "lead" in the middle is actually graphite. As you write, flakes of graphite are broken off the pencil lead, and stick to the paper.

The other important difference between diamond and graphite is that graphite conducts electricity, unlike diamond. Each carbon atom in graphite makes three covalent bonds in the layer. That means there is a spare, delocalised bond which sits between the layers. These can move, which allows graphite to conduct electricity.

Even though diamond and graphite are both made of carbon atoms, the way the atoms are joined together is really important in explaining why diamond and graphite behave in the ways that they do.

What is the name of the element that diamond and graphite are both made of?

What type of bonding links the atoms in diamond?

ionic

covalent

electronic

Every carbon atom is linked to how many neighbouring carbon atoms?

3

4

6

Which of these words describes the properties of diamond? Tick all the correct answers.

dissolves in water

stong

hard

conducts electricity

melts easily

What is the name of this structure?

What is the name of this structure?

Mark this paragraph about graphite - tick the sentences which are correct.

Graphite is made of pure carbon.

All the bonds in graphite are covalent.

Some of the covalent bonds are stronger than others.

The stronger bonds are in the layers.

Weak bonds between the layers allow sheets of graphite to flake off.

In graphite, how many covalent bonds does each carbon atom make?

2

3

4

6

Choose the correct options below to complete this sentence:

The form of carbon that is used to make electric circuits is...

2

3

4

6

Choose the correct options below to complete this sentence:

The form of carbon that is used to make saw tips is...

2

3

4

6

• Question 1

What is the name of the element that diamond and graphite are both made of?

carbon
EDDIE SAYS
Diamond and graphite are both made of pure carbon - the difference between them is the way the atoms are arranged.
• Question 2

What type of bonding links the atoms in diamond?

covalent
EDDIE SAYS
All of the bonds between pairs of carbon atoms in diamond are covalent bonds. That's why diamond is so strong.
• Question 3

Every carbon atom is linked to how many neighbouring carbon atoms?

4
EDDIE SAYS
Carbon is in Group 4, so each atom has to make bonds with four neighbours. That is just enough to make a giant structure in all directions.
• Question 4

Which of these words describes the properties of diamond? Tick all the correct answers.

stong
hard
EDDIE SAYS
Diamond's properties depend on its covalent bonding. This means that it is both strong and hard. It doesn't dissolve in water, nor does it conduct electricity and it has a very high melting temperature.
• Question 5

What is the name of this structure?

graphite
EDDIE SAYS
The important thing about the structure of graphite is the way it has layers. That helps to explain its properties.
• Question 6

What is the name of this structure?

diamond
EDDIE SAYS
The diamond structure is a network without any weak links - there are strong bonds in all directions. That's why diamond is so hard and strong.
• Question 7

Mark this paragraph about graphite - tick the sentences which are correct.

Graphite is made of pure carbon.
The stronger bonds are in the layers.
Weak bonds between the layers allow sheets of graphite to flake off.
EDDIE SAYS
The bonds in the graphite layers are covalent, but the bonds between the layers aren't - they're much weaker. The weak bonds between the layers explain why graphite is less strong than diamond.
• Question 8

In graphite, how many covalent bonds does each carbon atom make?

3
EDDIE SAYS
Carbon atoms in graphite make only three covalent bonds. The fourth bond doesn't get made, which is why there are delocalised electron bonds between the layers, holding them together weakly.
• Question 9

Choose the correct options below to complete this sentence:

The form of carbon that is used to make electric circuits is...

EDDIE SAYS
Graphite is used to make electrodes - for example for electrolysis experiments. It also makes a conducting paint used in computer circuits.
• Question 10

Choose the correct options below to complete this sentence:

The form of carbon that is used to make saw tips is...

EDDIE SAYS
The photo shows a diamond saw - the wheel has small diamonds around the edge, which can cut through many things because diamond is so hard.
---- OR ----

Sign up for a £1 trial so you can track and measure your child's progress on this activity.

### What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Get started