To gain insight into the role of orientational order on the shock-induced graphite to diamond phase transformation, three pyrolytic graphite types having different orientational orders were shock-compressed along the average c-axis to peak stresses between 35 and 69 GPa. The materials studied were ZYB-grade highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG), ZYH-grade HOPG, and as-deposited pyrolytic graphite (PG) having mosaic spreads of 0.8° ± 0.2°, 3.5° ± 1.5°, and ∼45°, respectively. Wave profiles, obtained using laser interferometry, show a multiple-wave structure with a distinct, rapid (<10 ns) rise to the high-pressure phase for each graphite type. Multiple-wave profiles, first observed in this study for the less ordered ZYH-grade HOPG and PG samples, show that somewhat poorly oriented pyrolytic graphites also undergo a well-defined phase transformation. Previously, rapid transformation was reported for ZYB-grade but not ZYH-grade HOPG. The measured wave profiles for both HOPG grades are very similar and both grades show a ∼22 GPa transformation stress. In contrast, the PG wave profiles are quite different and show a ∼46 GPa transformation stress. The continuum results (stress-density states) presented here cannot distinguish between the different high-pressure phases [hexagonal diamond (HD) or cubic diamond] reported in recent x-ray studies. Because ZYB-grade HOPG was recently shown to transform to HD and due to the similar peak states for both HOPG grades, it seems likely that ZYH-grade also transforms into HD. The very different shock responses of PG and HOPG suggest different transformation mechanisms for PG and HOPG, but the high-pressure PG phase remains unclear in the present work.

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