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Unique Properties Of Carbon Atom

The name Carbon is derived from Latin word Carbo. Sixth element of periodic table namely the carbon, classified non metal plays a vital role in biological process of every individual. It is the basis of lives. Incomplete combustion left residual which lead to the first discovery of Carbon. There are nearly 11 types of allotropes which are almost solid nature. Atomic number of carbon is 6. It is the 15th most copious element found in the earth crust.  In the universe they are ranked as fourth abundant element next to hydrogen, helium and oxygen.

Physical Characteristics: It is not chemically corroded so easily. When burnt they release carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the presence of oxygen or air at very high temperatures.  It exists in three main different forms namely graphite, lamp black and diamond. They are black in colour. It can be colorless when it exists in diamond form.

Allotropic forms of carbon:

Allotropes are nothing but stable atomic carbon structure and have various configurations of carbon molecules. Different types of carbon allotropes are as follows.

  • Amorphous carbon: Carbon occurs as irregular and non crystalline form of powders. It appears as a glassy state. The essential component of carbon is activated carbon, charcoal and lamp black.
  • Diamond: It occurs in nature as a hard substance at high pressures. The density of diamond is two times greater than graphite. The other atomic carbon structures are silicon and germanium. They are resistant to scratching. Diamond is not stable and is easily transferred to graphite form. Transition of graphite is very slow in nature.
  • Graphite:  It is a softest form of carbon which occurs at normal pressures. It has trigonal bond existing in the plane to form hexagonal rings and similar to aromatic hydrocarbons. Bonding is of two dimension and van der waals forces helps the bonding intact. As it is soft it can be cleaved easily as the stacked sheets slip over the other. Graphite is capable of conducting electricity by the delocalization of electrons. Delocalization helps in conducting electricity for metals and is stable energetically at room temperature.
  • Fullerenes: They look like graphite structure. They are used in nanotechnological applications. Bucky ball, bucky tubes and nano buds are form of fullerene.
  • Carbon nanoform: It is a ferromagnetic allotrope. They have very low density carbon atoms which are arranged in clusters. It is a glassy carbon with less porosity.

 Chemical Characteristics: Carbon atom has six electrons. It has the capability of accepting four valence electrons. It forms covalent bonds of different lengths. Due to this uniqueness it plays a major role in chemistry of live that is organic chemistry. Energy release is more and unusual when a reduced carbon is oxidized. Coming to the energy for life, carbon atom releases more energy by exchanging the electrons due to chemical reactions.  Practically reduced carbon when oxidized can form heat. Electron sharing between hydrogen and carbon is mutually dependent. When a carbon atom form a bond with a hydrogen atom the chain terminates that it hydrogen act as end adapter. This property helps in better understanding of Hydrocarbons as it a combination of hydrogen and carbon. It finds its own application in making of fuel, pharmaceuticals, dissolving solvents, nuclear fusion reactions and nanotubes.

Applications of carbon:

  • No life can exist without carbon
  • It is prevalent in fossil fuel, crude petroleum oil, gasoline, kerosene
  • Use of cellulose in the form of hemp, linen and cotton
  • Polymers of carbon are silk, cashmere, plastics and wool
  • Graphite usage in making of inks and pencils
  • Used in lubricant and pigment making
  • Charcoal is used for artwork, grilling, fuel production, absorbent, adsorbent, absorb toxins



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