This pencil “lead” is actually made of graphite. Graphite is a crystalline form of the element carbon.
Amazing but True!
- Elements that can conduct electric current are generally metals. However, the nonmetal carbon in the form of graphite is a good conductor of electricity.
Graphite can be found in crystal form. This particular specimen is from Baffin Island in Canada
- Watch this video to see how connecting a pencil to a battery causes current to flow through the pencil and “fry” it:
Show What You Know
At the link below, learn more about carbon, current, and short circuits. Then answer the questions that follow.
- Why is graphite, a nonmetal, a good conductor of electricity?
- What is Ohm’s law? How does Ohm’s law explain why the pencil burns in the video above?
- How could you reduce the amount of current flowing through the pencil in the video?
- What is a short circuit? Give an example of how a short circuit might occur.
- How does the demonstration in the video show the danger of a short circuit?