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POCO Graphite Trip Report

Last Thursday our engineering materials class took a trip to POCO Graphite located in Somewhere, Someplace. We had the pleasure of touring the plant, specifically the research and development laboratories. This tour let us experience what it feels like to test and research materials used to make high quality graphite.

When we arrived at the plant the first thing was to meet in the presentation room and received our ID badges for entrance to the coming labs. Then we proceeded to the labs where graphite samples are collected from every shift and analyzed purity and quality content. In order to satisfy and keep high standards for their customers POCO must perform this routine daily.

Inside these labs hold rooms with very sophisticated, expensive equipment used to determine tensile strength, thermal conductivity, and rigidity as well as many other metallurgical characteristics. They hold the honor of having mass spectrometer machine in the U.S. which assists the engineers in the lab the ability to test the graphite samples for purification and use in for semi-conductors. These allow for the finest quality graphite which is grinded to a one to twenty micron powder and is then tested for it’s purity.

When we completed our tour of the laboratory the presentation POCO Graphite company was next. This gave us a great insight into the history of the company. In 1964, POCO Graphite was founded which stands for Pure Oil Company. They gained momentum when they used their graphite in popular EDM machines. They also developed a type of graphite foam called POCO Foam that creates small veins of air to flow quickly through the foam to draw heat away from an object to rapidly cool it. Our classmates actually had the chance to see this foam in action so they placed a piece of foam on my hand then put an ice cube on top. Almost instantly the foam soaked in the cold and my hand felt the coldness of the ice. Major companies like NASCAR and even the U.S. Air Force have looked into using this special foam to improve heating and cooling for specific applications. This technology could allow cockpit’s instruments avoid overheating and the same could be used for radiators in NASCARs.

POCO Graphite strives to create and develop the best graphite on the earth. They are an industry standard for many companies around the world as the best and purist form of graphite, all right from our own backyard. This trip was a great experience and gave all of us a real glimpse of life after we receive our degree and all the potential we have to become great engineers.

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