Carbon: Chemical Element

The word Carbon comes from Latincarbo’, which meaning charcoal. In many foreign languages the words for C, coal and charcoal are synonyms.

Atomic number   : 6

Atomic weight     : 12.0096 to 12.0116

Melting point       : 3,550 °C (6,420 °F)

Boiling point        : 4,827 °C (8,721 °F)

Carbon element
It is a chemical element with the symbol C and atomic number 6. It is nonmetallic and tetravalent making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds. It belongs to group 14 of the periodic table.

It is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, and the 4th most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. C‘s abundance, its unique diversity of organic compounds, and its unusual ability to form polymers at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth enables this element to serve as a common element of all known life. It is the second most abundant element in the human body by mass after oxygen.

The largest sources of inorganic C are limestones, dolomites and carbon dioxide, but significant quantities occur in organic deposits of coal, peat, oil, and methane clathrates. Carbon forms a vast number of compounds, more than any other element, with almost ten million compounds described to date, and yet that number is but a fraction of the number of theoretically possible compounds under standard conditions. For this reason, carbon has often been referred to as the “king of the elements”.

It is found in nature in three forms called allotropes: diamond, graphite, and fullerenes. Graphite, with clay, is in pencils. It is very soft. The C atoms in it make rings, which are on top of each other and slide very easily. Diamonds are the hardest natural mineral. Fullerenes are a “soccer ball” shape of carbon. They are mostly of interest to science. A special, man-made, tube-shaped allotrope of carbon is the carbon nanotube. Carbon nanotubes are very hard, so they might be used in armor. Nanotubes might be useful in nanotechnology.