The World Bank expects global economic growth to slow significantly, from 5.5% in 2021 to 4.1% in 2022 and further to 3.2% in 2023. Growth in East Asia and the Pacific is expected to slow to 5.1 percent in 2022, reflecting the impact of China's economic slowdown, the report said. China's economic growth is expected to fall to 5.1% in 2022, close to potential growth, due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Chinese government's tightening of regulations in certain sectors of the economy. The report said that the rapid spread of the Omicron variant means that the new crown epidemic is likely to continue to disrupt economic activity in the near future. In addition, decelerating growth in major economies, including the United States and China, will depress external demand in emerging markets and developing economies.
Slow economic growth has a huge impact on natural graphite.
Natural graphite is mainly used in refractory materials, batteries, steelmaking, expanded graphite, brake pads, casting surfaces, and lubricants.
The use of graphite as a refractory (heat-resistant) material began before 1900 for holding molten metal graphite crucible; This is a small fraction of what refractories are made today. In the mid-1980s, carbon-magnesium bricks became important, followed later by alumina-graphite shapes. As of 2017, the order of importance is alumina-graphite profiles, carbon-magnesite bricks, Monolithics (a mixture of spray-patching and pounding), and then crucible.
The crucible began to use very large sheets of graphite, whereas carbon-magnesia bricks did not require such large sheets of graphite; For these and other purposes, sheet sizes are now required with greater flexibility, and amorphous graphite is no longer limited to low-end refractories. Alumina-graphite profiles are used as continuous castings, such as nozzles and grooves, to transport molten steel from ladles to molds, and carbon-magnesium bricks are lined up in converter and electric-arc furnace to withstand extreme temperatures. Graphite blocks are also used as components in blast furnace linings where the high thermal conductivity of graphite is essential to ensure adequate cooling of the furnace bottom and chamber. High purity monolithic tiles are usually used as continuous furnace linings rather than carbon magnesia bricks.
The use of graphite in batteries has increased since the 1970s. Natural and synthetic graphite is used as an anode material for constructing electrodes in major battery technologies.
The demand for batteries, mainly nickel-metal hydride, and lithium-ion batteries, led to an increase in demand for graphite in the late 1980s and early 1990s - an increase driven by portable electronic devices, such as portable CD players and power tools. Laptops, phones, tablets, and smartphones have increased the need for batteries. Electric vehicle batteries are expected to increase graphite demand. The lithium-ion battery in the all-electric Nissan Leaf, for example, contains nearly 40 kilograms of graphite.
Radioactive graphite from old nuclear reactors is being studied as fuel. Nuclear diamond batteries have the potential to provide long-term energy for electronics and the Internet of things.
Natural graphite in steelmaking is mainly used to improve the carbon content in molten steel. It can also be used to lubricate molds used to extrude hot steel. Carbon additives face competitive prices from alternatives such as synthetic graphite powder, petroleum coke, and other forms of carbon. Carburizing agent is added to raise the carbon content of the steel to a specified level.
Natural amorphous and fine-scale graphite is used in brake linings or shoes for heavier (non-automotive) vehicles and has become important as a replacement for asbestos is needed. This use has been important for a long time, but non-asbestos organic (NAO) ingredients are beginning to reduce graphite's market share.
Casting coat and lubricant
The mold cleaning liquid for casting is a water-based amorphous or fine-scale graphite coating. Paint the inside of the mold with it and let it dry, leaving a fine coating of graphite that eases the separation of the casting as the hot metal cools. Graphite lubricants are special products used at very high or very low temperatures, used as lubricants for forging dies, anti-stuck agents, gear lubricants for mining machinery, and lubricating locks. There is a great need for low grain graphite and even better non-grain graphite (ultra-high purity). It can be used as a dry powder in water or oil, or as colloidal graphite (a permanent suspension in liquid).
Since the 16th century, all pencils have been made from graphite naturally found in Britain, but the most common modern lead is a mixture of powdered graphite and clay.
Natural graphite has found use in zinc-carbon batteries, motor brushes, and a variety of specialized applications. Graphite of different hardness or softness produces different qualities and tones when used as an artistic medium. Railroads often mix graphite powder with waste oil or flaxseed oil to form a heat-resistant coating for exposed parts of steam locomotive boilers, such as the lower part of a smoke box or firebox.
Expanded graphite is made by dipping natural flake graphite into a bath of chromic acid, followed by concentrated sulfuric acid, which forces the lattice planes apart and causes the graphite to expand. Expanded graphite can be used in the manufacture of graphite foil or directly used as the "hot top" compounds, to isolate in the molten metal ladle or hot ingot and reduce heat loss, or used as a fire door installed in or around the fire damper in the sheet metal plate plastic pipes around the lantern ring (in the fire, the graphite expansion and carbonized in the infiltration and spread of resistance to fire), or high-performance gasket materials used in the manufacture of high-temperature use. After making graphite foil, the foil is machined and assembled into bipolar fuel cells. Aluminum foil is made into radiators for laptops, keeping them cool while reducing weight, and is made into foil laminates that can be used as valve fillers or made into gaskets. Old-fashioned fillers are now a minor member of the group: fine scales of graphite in oil or grease, used for applications requiring heat resistance.
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With Russia taking the lead on Poland and Bulgaria at the end of last month, there appears to be a growing sense of compromise within the EU over whether to accept Moscow's proposed rouble settlement order.
Italy's prime minister said recently that European companies would be able to buy gas in roubles without violating sanctions. This apparently ignores the guidance of hardliners in the EU to "fight to the end".
For weeks, European companies have been trying to find ways to meet Russia's payment demands for the rouble while maintaining vital gas supplies without violating sanctions against Moscow.
Late last month, European Commission President Von der Leyen said operating under the mechanism would violate sanctions and asked European companies not to bow to Russian demands. However, the EU has yet to issue more rigorous written guidelines on how companies should pay Gazprom.
The Italian prime minister said recently, "There is no official announcement from the European Union about what ruble settlement means for sanctions violations, and no one has said whether ruble payments violate sanctions or not. It's a grey area."
"In fact, most gas importers are already opening rouble accounts for deals with Gazprom,"
He also used German companies as a shield. He said Germany's largest gas importer had already paid in rubles. "In fact, we saw evidence yesterday that the largest gas importer in Germany has already paid in rubles."
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