# Does graphite burn?

Is it possible to make graphite oxidize in the presence of oxygen?

I know it's possible to make other forms of carbon oxidize and even burn with the production of residual heat in the presence of oxygen.

As far as I know graphite is very resistant to heat, and it isn't possible to make it burn even at high temperatures.

So, my question is: what are the conditions required to make it burn producing carbon dioxide?

• You can burn diamonds if you really want to (even higher heats and needing better than atmospheric oxygen) – Lyndon White Oct 18 '17 at 8:11

The autoignition temperature of graphite is $\pu{730^oC}$. This means that pure graphite will ignite at that temperature under standard atmospheric conditions without an external source of ignition. The fraction of carbon that gets oxidized all the way to carbon dioxide at that temperature may not be unity depending on the oxygen concentration, whether the graphite is a fine powder vs. a solid rod, etc. I worked in an analytical laboratory in which we occasionally determined the carbon content of graphitic substances by quantitatively converting the graphite to carbon dioxide at $\pu{950^oC}$ under a pure oxygen atmosphere.