Carbon Picture - Graphite, Diamond and Amorphous
Carbon-(symbol: C atomic number: 6 Latin: carbo, charcoal) Carbon, an element of prehistoric discovery, is very widely distributed in nature. Sixth most abundant element in the universe. Natural diamonds are found in kimberlite of ancient volcanic "pipes," found in South Africa and elsewhere. Today, much of all industrial diamonds used in the world are made synthetically. Carbon is found free in nature in three allotropic forms: amorphous, graphite, and diamond. Diamond is one of the hardest known materials. In combination, carbon is found as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of the earth and dissolved in all natural waters. It is a component of great rock masses in the form of carbonates of calcium (limestone) CaCO3, magnesium, and iron. Coal, petroleum, and natural gas are chiefly hydrocarbons. Carbon is unique among the elements in the vast number and variety of compounds it can form. With hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and other elements, it forms a very large number of compounds, carbon atom often being linked to carbon atom. There are close to ten million known carbon compounds, many thousands of which are vital to organic and life processes. Without carbon, the basis for life would be impossible. Some of the most important compounds of carbon are carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon disulfide (CS2), chloroform (CHCl3), methane (CH4), ethylene (C2H4), acetic acid (CH3COOH), and their derivatives. Carbon has seven isotopes. In 1961 the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry adopted the isotope carbon-12 as the basis for atomic weights. Carbon-14, an isotope with a half-life of 5715 years, has been widely used to date organic materials such as wood etc.
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