Electrodes and Electromagnetism

Machined Graphite

My favorite show, in the history of the world, was LOST. I know I am not alone, for most who watched the series from start to finish know it is something that can never be beat. So naturally, the connection of electrodes to Michael Faraday, who is the namesake tofavicon Daniel Faraday immediately, makes me excited. The real Faraday coined the term electrode from the Greek words of elektron and hodos, meaning amber, the word that electricity came from and a way respectively. An electrical conductor, electrodes are used in a wide variety of applications. One popular model is the graphite electrode. Daniel was our favorite scientist in the show. A physicist, he seemed to excel in everything from electromagnetism to time travel. While he may not have messed with graphite electrodes on the island, it is possible he came across them, or at least heard of them in his career at Oxford.

Graphite electrodes are primarily used in electric arc furnaces. They are thick rods that are used for their ability to conduct high amounts of thermal energy. They can range from three inches to 30 inches in diameter. These machines are large melting pots for scrap automobile parts, mechanical aerospace and transportation parts or old appliances. Graphite electrodes are assembled into columns and attached to the roof. Their ability to conduct electricity at extremely high temperatures makes them the perfect material to work with, especially with difficult to melt materials such as steel. Steel is one material that can be melted down and reused numerous times, but to do so requires a bit of work. Steel must be heated to extremely high temperatures to be melted to its liquid state. Luckily, graphite electrodes that are made from machined graphite are able to keep their shape and composition even at temperatures of 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit.