Again, if more than 2% of carbon is present, it passes readily into the state of pure graphitic carbon, which, in itself soft and weak, weakens and embrittles the metal as any foreign body would, by breaking up its continuity.
Typical graphitic cast iron results; or, as usually happens, certain molecules may follow one diagram while the rest follow the other diagram, so that cast iron which has both cementite and graphite results, as in most commercial grey cast iron, and typically in " mottled cast iron," in which there are distinct patches of grey and others of white cast iron.
The process therefore is so managed that only the outer shell of the casting is chilled, and that the interior remains graphitic, i.e.
Second, though the brittleness should be lessened somewhat by the decrease in the extent to which the continuity of the strong matrix is broken up by the graphite skeleton, yet this effect is outweighed greatly by that of the rapid substitution in the matrix of the brittle cementite for the' very ductile copper-like ferrite, so that the brittleness increases continuously (RS), from that of the very grey graphitic cast irons, which, like that of soapstone, is so slight that the metal can endure severe shock and even indentation without breaking, to that of the pure white cast iron which is about as brittle as porcelain.
Hence, as with the progressive transfer of the carbon from the graphitic to the cementite state in our imaginary series of cast irons, the combined carbon present in the matrix increases, so does the tensile strength of the mass as a whole for two reasons; first, because the strength of the matrix itself is increasing (DE), and second, because the discontinuity is decreasing with the decreasing proportion of graphite.