GCSE Chemistry: Graphite & Diamond

5th April 2017

GCSE Science – Covalent Structures – Graphite & Diamonds

KEY STAGE 4 – GCSE Chemistry Revision Guide – Nano chemistry


Then use this Revision Guide to remember all the Key Points in the GCSE Syllabus and get Full Marks in your GCSE Chemistry Exam.

What is a covalent bond?

Also known as a ‘molecular bond’, it is a chemical bond in which electron pairs are shared between atoms.

The electron pairs which are ‘shared’ are known as ‘bonding pairs’ and this form of attractive force is referred to as “Covalent Bonding”.

What are Giant Covalent Structures?

A structure of adjacent (non-metal) atoms all joined together by Covalent Bonds, usually these form regular (‘giant’) lattices or structures.

These structures are usually very strong due to the large number of bonds which hold the atoms together.

Examples of materials made up of Giant Covalent Structures:

  • Diamond (Super hard because each atom is joined to four others)

  • Graphite (super light and conducts electricity, each atom joined to three others, and arranged in layers)

NOTE: Both of these materials are made up of pure Carbon, see the Diagrams, all that changes is the way the atoms are arranged!

Properties of Giant Covalent Structures:

  • Very high melting points (due to the high amount of strong covalent bonds!)

  • Variable electrical conductivity (diamonds do not conduct electricity, while Graphite does!)

Other materials with a Giant Covalent Structure:

Silica (silicon dioxide)

  • Has the same giant covalent structure as Diamond,

  • Is hard and has a high melting point,

  • BUT, instead of Carbon atoms, it contains silicon and oxygen atoms and therefore is not as strong as Diamond.


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