Abstract The surface of graphite was modified employing powder immersion reaction assisted coating (PIRAC) method. Graphite plates were immersed into Ti powder and annealed at 800–1000 °C. Crystalline iodine was admixed to Ti powder in order to accelerate the transfer of Ti atoms onto the graphite surface. As a result of interaction between Ti and graphite, continuous Ti carbide coatings were formed with a thin layer of stiochiometric TiC on the graphite substrate/coating interface and Ti-rich TiC 1− x in the outer part of the coating with concentration of carbon decreasing towards the surface of the coating. The coating was found to grow by a parabolic law with the kinetic constant, k = 3.7 × 10 −8 exp(−160,000/ RT) m 2/s, the process being controlled by diffusion along fast diffusion paths. At low iodine concentrations and short exposures the amount of admixed iodine affected the rate of titanium carbide coating growth. A kinetic model of the process of coating growth is proposed.