by Morgan Stoltzfus
Basics of carbon
- Atomic number: 6 Mass number: 12
- Has 6 protons, electrons, and neutrons.
- Comes from the Latin word carbo, which means charcoal.
- It is the sixth most abundant element in the universe.
- People get most of their carbon from carbon dioxide in the air or mixed in water.
- It is widely dispersed in nature.
History of Carbon
Carbon has been known since ancient times.
At first scientists did not know what to make of diamonds until they discovered that it could be destroyed by heat. In 1694, sunlight was focused on a diamond using a large magnifying glass and it disappeared. Then, in 1796, Smithson Tennant saw that as it burned it formed carbon dioxide and proved that diamond is just a form of carbon.
A colorless, odorless gas that is vital to life on earth. This compound has one carbon atom bonded with two oxygen atoms. It is formed by plants during respiration.
A colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is less dense than air. It has a ratio of one carbon atom to one oxygen atom. It forms when there is not enough oxygen to make carbon dioxide. It burns with a blue flame and produces carbon dioxide.
Methane has a ratio of one carbon atom to four hydrogen atoms. It is a main component of natural. Atmospheric methane has increased 150% since 1750 and makes up 20% of greenhouse gases.
- Carbon fibre is a strong and lightweight material that is used for tennis rackets, skis, fishing rods, rockets, and aeroplanes.
- Charcoal (wood) and coke (coal) are used for metal smelting which is important in iron and steel industries.
- Graphite is used for pencils and brushes in electric motors.
- Activated charcoal is used for filtration and purification.
- Industrials diamonds are used for cutting rocks and drilling.
- Carbon is essential to life.
- About 30% of industrial diamonds in the U.S. are made synthetically.
- An abundance of carbon is found in the sun, stars, comets and atmospheres of planets.
Element Card: Gray, Theodore W. (2008). The Photographic Card Deck of the Elements.
Elements Book: Gray, Theodore W. (2009). The Elements: A visual exploration of every known atom in the universe. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.