Carbon in Modern Life

Carbon is an ancient element that can be found in the most modern things. It is in smart flat screens and in high-performance sports equipment. Carbon captures the spirit of the times.

Communicating in real-time around the globe, strolling through brightly lit towns at night, and soaring to athletic excellence. Our modern lifestyle is fascinating and varied. Just like the material that makes many of these things possible in the first place. Whether as coated isostatic graphite or carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, as a precursor or an end product – carbon is part of our everyday lives in all of its different forms.

Economical, long-lasting and bright. The future of light has begun.

Every day we come across thousands of these small, electronic parts that glow in all colors. They are in traffic lights, screens, illuminated panels, and automobile headlights – light-emitting diodes, LEDs for short. A particularly high-grade specialty graphite is required to manufacture them.

Light-emitting diodes consume much less energy than traditional light bulbs. At the same time, their lifetime is substantially longer. They glow for up to 50,000 hours. This makes the economical diodes the only illuminant to obtain energy class A according to EU standards.

Light-emitting diodes generate light in compound semiconductors. The power and performance of these light-emitting diodes rises and falls with the quality of these semiconductors. Their manufacture is the key process in the entire LED production chain. This is where specialty graphite comes into play. Isostatic graphite is fundamental to the production of the semiconductor layers. They are created with the socalled epitaxial process. The rotating carrier on which the epi-wafers are coated in the reactor has a diameter of about half a meter and only weighs a few kilograms. It consists of an isostatic graphite coated with silicon carbide. Only this very fine and homogeneous graphite can live up to the high demands required for the coating process.

The rapidly increasing demand for LEDs poses great challenges for the industry. For instance, the brightness of the LEDs must be increased, costs must be reduced, and production capacities increased. In order to continue to successfully accompany our customers in the semiconductor industry on the way to a more energy efficient future, we are further expanding our capacities for the production, purification, processing, and coating of isostatic graphite.

Higher, faster, farther – lightweight materials in sports

High performance is what counts in professional sports. And nowadays only sporting goods made of the most modern materials can deliver it. World records and the Olympic Games are won with sports equipment made of carbon fiber. Whether for a racing bicycle, archery bow, racing scull, golf club, or vaulting pole, there are hardly any disciplines in which carbon products are not at the top. Their low weight and high rigidity are crucial. In bicycle frames, for example, this means less exertion and better road holding. And since professional sports are a trailblazer for new materials, carbon has long since found its way into recreational sports. It’s not just true when it comes to a new bicycle - carbon is a marker of quality for every athlete.

Precision tools for satellite technology

Components for satellites have to be light weight and are therefore manufactured from carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). In order to enable the production of such parts, the SGL Group delivers high precision graphite molds. These molds have to meet the highest demands because they determine the quality of the CFRP components and therefore also the functionality. So the SGL Group delivers both isostatic pressed and extruded graphite. They are easy to process and have the ideal thermal expansion properties, which make them perfect for high precision mold making for CFRP components for satellites.

Electromagnetic shielding

Along with natural electromagnetic fields such as sunlight, there are also those emitted by technical devices and facilities. Wherever there is wireless communication, there are high-frequency fields from cell-phone networks, television, and WLAN. Insulating graphite building materials can almost fully prevent excessively high loads from electromagnetic fields on the inside of buildings. These materials consist of plaster or clay and ECOPHIT®, a granulate or powder consisting of expanded graphite. The panels and plastering benefit from the extraordinary conductivity of natural graphite, which absorbs the electromagnetic radiation. This positive effect is already noticeable at low material strengths. A 10-millimeter thick graphite-modified plasterboard, can reduce radiation by up to 99.99 percent.