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Carbon Atom

Last updated date: 23rd May 2024
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What is Carbon Atom?

Everything in your environment is made up of or contains one element in common. Do you know what that is? Plastic may be found in everything from computer, smartphone, and tablet screens to clothing, food, and automobiles. Carbon is the most important component of this chemical. Not only that, but carbon is the most abundant element in all organic matter. Let us understand more about carbon atoms, carbon uses, and carbon compound information in everyday life.

What is Carbon?

Carbon is a chemical element with the atomic number 6 and the symbol C. It's nonmetallic and tetravalent, which means it can bond chemically with four electrons. It belongs to the modern periodic table's 14th group. Carbon makes up only about 0.025 percent of the Earth's crust. The stable isotopes 12C and 13C, as well as the radioactive 14C, make up nature's isotopes.

Properties of Carbon

Physical Properties of Carbon

  • Carbon is one of the most plentiful elements in the Earth's crust by weight.

  • Carbon is the cosmic product of helium's "burning," in which three four-atomic-weight helium nuclei fuse to generate a twelve-atomic-weight carbon nucleus.

  • Elemental carbon is available in a number of different forms, each with its own set of physical qualities. Although diamond and graphite, two of their well-defined forms, have crystalline structures, their physical properties differ due to the varied arrangements of atoms in their structures. Fullerene, a third kind, is made up of a range of carbon-based molecules. 

  • Amorphous carbon, on the other hand, has no crystalline structure. 

  • Other compounds, such as carbon black, charcoal, lampblack, coal, and coke, are sometimes referred to as amorphous, however, X-ray analysis has indicated that they have a low degree of crystallinity. 

  • Diamond and graphite are found naturally on Earth and can also be synthesized; they are chemically inert but, like amorphous carbon, mix with oxygen at high temperatures. 

  • The hardest naturally occurring solid is a pure diamond, which is also a poor conductor of electricity. On the other hand, graphite which is also made up of carbon is a soft, slick solid that is a good heat and electrical conductor. Diamond is the most valuable and beautiful of all-natural gemstones, as well as the hardest of all naturally occurring abrasives. 

Chemical Properties of Carbon

  • Carbon's chemical characteristics are unique in that it produces a number of components that are superior to the total of all other elements.

  • The greatest of these components is the group formed by carbon and hydrogen. At the very least, we know about a million organic components, and this number is continuously increasing every year.

  • Carbon is also the most essential element in the universe since it is the only element capable of forming strong single bonds with itself that are chemically resistant under normal conditions. This permits carbon to form lengthy chains and rings of atoms, which serve as the structural foundation for many of the molecules that make up a living cell, including DNA, which is the most important of them all.

  • Common minerals (e.g., magnesium and calcium carbonates) are made up of carbon compounds (e.g., magnesite, dolomite, marble, or limestone).

  • The major component of coral and the shells of oysters and clams is calcium carbonate. Carbon is plentiful in coal, as well as the organic compounds that make up petroleum, natural gas, and all plant and animal tissue.

  • The carbon cycle is a biological process that involves the conversion of atmospheric carbon dioxide to carbohydrates in plants, the consumption of these carbohydrates by animals and their oxidation through metabolism to produce carbon dioxide and other products, and the release of carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.

  • Carbon, whether elemental or mixed, is usually quantified by turning it to carbon dioxide gas, which can then be absorbed by other chemicals to generate a titratable acidic solution or a weighable product.

Uses of Carbon in Daily Life

Carbon is employed in so many daily tasks that one may not be able to even realise the true extent of it. The following are some of the most important applications: 

  • Carbohydrates are a major source of energy in the foods we consume. Carbon atoms make up carbohydrate molecules.

  • In jewellery, the diamond, which is the hardest form of carbon, is used. However, diamonds are used in the industry for uses other than jewellery. It has a wide range of applications in manufacturing since it is the hardest substance known to man.

  • Amorphous carbon is used in inks and paints because it is a softer type of carbon. It's also used in the production of batteries.

  • One of the most common applications is carbon dating. Carbon can be used to estimate an object's age. Scientists utilise carbon-14, a rare kind of carbon, to calculate the age of fossils, bones, and other items. 


Carbon is a chemical element with the atomic number 6 and the symbol C. It's nonmetallic and tetravalent, which means it has four electrons available for chemical bonding. It belongs to the periodic table's 14th group. Only roughly 0.025 percent of the Earth's crust is made up of carbon. Carbon atoms can link in a variety of ways, resulting in a variety of carbon allotropes. Graphite, diamond, amorphous carbon, and fullerenes are examples of well-known allotropes. 

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FAQs on Carbon Atom

1. What is a simple carbon atom?

An atom is made up of protons and neutrons, and any atom of an element with six protons is a carbon atom. Although the number of protons and neutrons in the carbon atom might differ from the elemental carbon atom in different compounds and processes.

2. Why is carbon useful for life?

A variety of biomolecules, such as amino acids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids, make up living beings. One thing they all have in common is the carbon atom and carbon chains. As a result, all living species on Earth are carbon-based. Aside from that, carbon is essential for living creatures' growth and reproduction. Carbon is extremely important for life for these reasons.

3. What is carbon used for?

Coal, methane gas, and crude oil are some of the most commonly used substances in the power and energy industries. Carbon is one of the chemical building blocks of all of these types of fuels, as it is a component of the hydrocarbons that give rise to coal, methane, and crude oil. Apart from that, polymers and alloys such as steel, which are formed up of carbon, are utilised to make a variety of materials. As a result, carbon is used in a variety of sectors.