The sodium expansion and creep strain of semi-graphitic cathodes are investigated using a modified Rapoport apparatus. To further understanding of the sodium and bath penetration damage processes, the impact of external stress fluence on the carbon cathode microstructure has been defined with XRD analysis, Raman spectroscopy and scanning electron microscope (SEM). Graphite atoms fracture into smaller fragments that are less directional than the pristine platelets, which allows for a possible filling of the cracks that thus develop by the sodium and bath during aluminum electrolysis. The average microcrystalline size (calculated by Raman spectroscopy) is reduced by the deformation. The decreased intensity and widened ‘G’ and ‘D’ peaks in the analysis indicate the poor order of the sheets along the stacking direction while the consistent layered graphite structure is sustained.