The World Around Us

Chemicals in Our World

Why is graphite so good to write with?

Graphite is an attractive chemical for writing for a few reasons. Graphite, unlike most inks, is not dissolved by water or affected by moisture, but it’s easy to erase.

Fun fact: We commonly refer to the graphite in pencils as “pencil lead,” but there’s no lead (Pb) in there. The Romans did use lead for writing, but the practice didn’t make it much farther in history than that. The paint on the outside of pencils did, however, contain lead up through the 1900s.


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