Carbon, element symbol C, is the sixth most abundant element in the universe. Granite and Diamonds are a form of Carbon. The name Carbon comes from the latin word for charcoal, carbo. Carbon has been used since ancient times, and it is most commonly obtained from coal mines. However, the exact time or discoverer is unknown. All living things are made out of carbon.
- A carbon atom consists of 6 protons, 6 neutrons, and 6 electrons.
- The atomic number for carbon is 6.
- The atomic mass of carbon is 12.0107 amu.
- Carbon has 2 stable isotopes, C-12 and C-13.
Carbon occurs naturally as graphite, diamond, and anthracite (a type of coal). Carbon can be found everywhere, in the air, underground, and in ourselves. The carbon that is in the air making CO2, comes from burning fossil fuels.
Carbon has many uses. Charcoal, a form of impure carbon, is used in metal smelting. Activated charcoal is used for purification and filtration. Graphite is what makes our pencils. Carbon fiber is a very strong, yet lightweight material. It is used in rockets and airplanes to provide the strength and the ability to fly at the same time. Diamond is the hardest natural material, and can be worn as jewelry or used as a cutting tool.
Graphite and diamond are the softest and hardest natural material known, respectively.
20% of the weight of all living organisms is carbon. Carbon is made within stars from helium burning.