21 Facts About Carbon


Carbon is a chemical element with the symbol C and atomic number 6.

FactSnippet No. 625,324

Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth's crust, and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen.

FactSnippet No. 625,325

Carbon is known to form almost ten million compounds, a large majority of all chemical compounds.

FactSnippet No. 625,326

Carbon is the sixth element, with a ground-state electron configuration of 1s2s2p, of which the four outer electrons are valence electrons.

FactSnippet No. 625,327

Carbon-based compounds form the basis of all known life on Earth, and the carbon–nitrogen cycle provides some of the energy produced by the Sun and other stars.

FactSnippet No. 625,328

Carbon reacts with sulfur to form carbon disulfide, and it reacts with steam in the coal-gas reaction used in coal gasification:.

FactSnippet No. 625,329

Carbon combines with some metals at high temperatures to form metallic carbides, such as the iron carbide cementite in steel and tungsten carbide, widely used as an abrasive and for making hard tips for cutting tools.

FactSnippet No. 625,330

Carbon nanotubes are structurally similar to buckyballs, except that each atom is bonded trigonally in a curved sheet that forms a hollow cylinder.

FactSnippet No. 625,331

Carbon in this modification is linear with sp orbital hybridization, and is a polymer with alternating single and triple bonds.

FactSnippet No. 625,332

Carbon is the fourth most abundant chemical element in the observable universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen.

FactSnippet No. 625,333

Carbon is abundant in the Sun, stars, comets, and in the atmospheres of most planets.

FactSnippet No. 625,334

Carbon is found in methane hydrates in polar regions and under the seas.

FactSnippet No. 625,335

Carbon-14 is a naturally occurring radioisotope, created in the upper atmosphere by interaction of nitrogen with cosmic rays.

FactSnippet No. 625,336

Carbon occurs in all known organic life and is the basis of organic chemistry.

FactSnippet No. 625,337

Carbon was discovered in prehistory and was known in the forms of soot and charcoal to the earliest human civilizations.

FactSnippet No. 625,338

Carbon is essential to all known living systems, and without it life as we know it could not exist.

FactSnippet No. 625,339

Carbon fiber is made by pyrolysis of extruded and stretched filaments of polyacrylonitrile and other organic substances.

FactSnippet No. 625,340

Carbon black is used as the black pigment in printing ink, artist's oil paint and water colours, carbon paper, automotive finishes, India ink and laser printer toner.

FactSnippet No. 625,341

Carbon black is used as a filler in rubber products such as tyres and in plastic compounds.

FactSnippet No. 625,342

Carbon compounds make up most of the materials used in clothing, such as natural and synthetic textiles and leather, and almost all of the interior surfaces in the built environment other than glass, stone and metal.

FactSnippet No. 625,343

Carbon generally has low toxicity to life on Earth; but carbon nanoparticles are deadly to Drosophila.

FactSnippet No. 625,344