LSN: Graphite..(short/boring)

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LSN: Graphite..(short/boring)

Postby TomHill » Wed Aug 13, 2008 2:15 pm

So, prompted by another thread which had the nose of a wine smelling like "graphite", I was prompted to offer up the following "smelling note". From this little plastic container I smelled
8 pencil leads:
1. Pentel HiPolymer Super 0.7 x 60 mm HB pencil lead 30 pcs JAPAN: slightly plastiziced somewhat waxy/parafin aroma similar to Crayola reddish-brown crayon. $1.39/container. Score: 83
so then I tried:
2. Skilcraft Bonded No.3 Med.Hard pencil: Rather woody/cedary/pencilly character w/ none of the notes found in the above pencil leads. Probably the graphite aroma was contaminated/overwhelmed by the pencil wood surrounding the graphite lead. $0.75/pencil. Score: 91
___________________________________ _
And a wee BloodyPulpit:
1. The aromas I was getting off these pencil leads doesn't remotely smell like anything I've ever smelled in a wine, let alone Syrah or a Rhone wine. It smelled kinda like...crayons (the red-brown color). Realizing that pencil leads are not pure graphite, what did I do wrong? Sholda used the 3H hardness level? Everyone knows that the Pentel brand doesn't smell of graphite, but the EverSharp brand does? Shoulda used the 0.5 mm ones? The plastic container of the leads contaminated the graphite smell from the plasticizer? The top of the pencil lead container didn't spin, so there was obvious heat damage during shipping from Japan? I didn't open the container 6.9 hrs ahead of time to allow the leads to breathe? I used the HiPolymer leads and should have tried the LoPolymer ones? Everyone knows that pencil leads contain clay, which imparts an earthy smell to the graphite? Should I have bought these leads on futures instead of off the stationary store shelf? Maybe I shoulda used 12 leads instead of 8?
I'm at a total loss here why these leads don't smell like wine. Is there a better/purer expression of graphite smell from some other object?? Please help.
______________________
2. I very much preferred the smell of the SkilCraft pencil. That cedary/pencilly character did smell of wine. It reminded me a lot of the LouisMartini NapaGamay '66 that I had a few weeks ago. So "pencilly" in wine is a more desirable smell than "graphite"?
______________________
3. When I think of the smell of graphite; I usually think of the smell of those WWII Army beacons that they used to have at car dealer openings and movie debuts back when I was a kid. I'd stand holding onto my Father's hand right next to one, hear the crackling/sizzling sound of that burning graphite, and smell that very distinctive smell of "graphite". You had to have been there.
But that "graphite" smell of WWII beacons is nothing but the smell of ozone. You smell it after a nearby lightening strike. Or I'll smell it inside my face mask when I take a hard epee hit and it draws a spark from my oponents point hitting the steel mesh. That..to me...is the smell of "graphite". And the smell I'll sometimes get in Syrah or Rhone reds.
Tom
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Re: LSN: Graphite..(short/boring)

Postby Ian Sutton » Wed Aug 13, 2008 2:55 pm

Top post Tom :lol:

Really made me smile.

Of course I personally refuse to use HB pencils as they're mass-produced for the plebs. A superfine 3H, now you're talking! :wink:
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Re: LSN: Graphite..(short/boring)

Postby Mark Lipton » Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:17 pm

TomHill wrote:1. The aromas I was getting off these pencil leads doesn't remotely smell like anything I've ever smelled in a wine, let alone Syrah or a Rhone wine. It smelled kinda like...crayons (the red-brown color). Realizing that pencil leads are not pure graphite, what did I do wrong? Sholda used the 3H hardness level? Everyone knows that the Pentel brand doesn't smell of graphite, but the EverSharp brand does? Shoulda used the 0.5 mm ones? The plastic container of the leads contaminated the graphite smell from the plasticizer?


Tom,
I had this very discussion a while ago, when I was of the mind that people's use of the term "pencil lead" referred actually to the strong smell of the red cedar used in most pencils. However, someone (Steve Slatcher or Dale W I think?) told me to smell some liquid graphite used for lubricating locks (yes, it's a colloidal suspension, but I don't think that the mineral oil has much of a smell) and -- sure enough -- it has a fairly strong smell that does put me in mind of the pencils I used in grammar school. So, perhaps off you go to the garage for that squeeze bottle of graphite that's probably laying around. And -- mirabile dictu! -- I do smell it in many oak-aged red wines, so there you go.

On a related note: given the fact that graphite is a high MW allotrope of carbon, I question whether in pure form it should have any volatility whatsoever. Those olfaction receptors in our noses are wondrous things to be sure, but the molecule in question still has to reach them in the gas phase, no?

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Yup....

Postby TomHill » Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:35 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:On a related note: given the fact that graphite is a high MW allotrope of carbon, I question whether in pure form it should have any volatility whatsoever. Those olfaction receptors in our noses are wondrous things to be sure, but the molecule in question still has to reach them in the gas phase, no?
Mark


Yup...agree, Mark. When I was in college, in ReactorTech II Lab, we had a small (12' cube) graphite pile that we did several experiments.
It was extremely high purity graphite taken from CP-1 (Chicago Pile-1, the first controlled nuclear chain reaction in the bowels of the Stagg
Field stands at Univ of Chicago in 1941..led by EnricoFermi and other such luminaries). Hard and heavy as hell. Didn't leave much graphite
on your hands. Then (as now), I was interested in smells and remember smelling one of those long blocks. Didn't have any sort of smell
that I could pick up.
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Re: LSN: Graphite..(short/boring)

Postby Neil Courtney » Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:55 pm

According to this page, the HB pencil contains 68% graphite, 26% clay and 5% wax. I didn't know that. So I wonder how much the clay changes the smell?
Cheers,
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Re: LSN: Graphite..(short/boring)

Postby Sue Courtney » Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:06 pm

Neil Courtney wrote:According to this page, the HB pencil contains 68% graphite, 26% clay and 5% wax. I didn't know that. So I wonder how much the clay changes the smell?

Depends on the type of clay, Neil. Some clays are definitely more 'aromatic' than others.
From the Stage 1 Geology teaching sets I used to prepare, I remember Graphite - soft, slippery and gets all over your hands.

Mark Lipton wrote:I had this very discussion a while ago...

Mark, We had a good discussion on 'lead pencil aroma' here on WLDG a while back ... viewtopic.php?f=18&t=14472&p=122265&hilit=graphite#p122265

Was the other discussion here on WLDG also?
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Re: LSN: Graphite..(short/boring)

Postby Bob Henrick » Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:19 pm

Ian Sutton wrote: A superfine 3H, now you're talking! :wink:


Ian, I can agree with you on the 3h pencil. Years ago we used to log out weather observations on a form devised for the purpose, and the 3H pencil was the proscribed writing instrument.
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Nope....

Postby TomHill » Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:28 pm

Sue Courtney wrote:I remember Graphite - soft, slippery and gets all over your hands.


Well, Sue...I can assure you that reactor-grade graphite (99.9999% pure) is hard as nails. You can take a stick of it and
use it as a hammer.
As I recall from my drafting days in HighSchool, pencil hardness went from 5H (very hard) to 5B (very soft) and the
hardness was determined by the amount of clay they'd added, more clay for the harder pencils.
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Re: LSN: Graphite..(short/boring)

Postby Dale Williams » Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:35 pm

Pencils go to at least 8B (very dark, soft). Betsy uses a particular brand of 3B for marking parts, a soft pencil, you wouldn't be able to sharpen to a real small point.
HB is midlevel, I think about the same as an American #2 pencil.
I think of graphite as a taste, certainly if you lick a soft pencil lead you get a distinct taste, though I have no personal knowledge as to whether that is graphite or clay (or another filler).
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