Carbon is one of the most widely dispersed materials on the earth, yet it is not the most abundant. Here are some more fascinating facts about this essential element.
Carbon is found in nature, and has its proper place on the periodic table of elements. It is a nonmetal, chemical element and comes in a wide variety of forms. It is an allotrope, which means it can exist in multiple forms in the same physical state like liquid, solid, gas, or plasma. It is the 15th most abundant element on the planet and the 4th most abundant in the entire universe. It is no overstatement to say that carbon can be described as the building block for everything. It is the second only to oxygen as the most abundant element in human bodies.
It is difficult to date the actual “discovery” of carbon, since its various forms have been used as early as 2500 B.C. Diamonds have been used in ancient civilizations as jewelry, talismans to ward off evil, or cutting tools. Charcoal was produced in Ancient Rome using much the same process that is still in practice today, and farmers in the 1500s used a form of graphite to mark their sheep. However, more scientific processes were applied to the defining carbon beginning in 1722 when Rene Antoine Ferchault de Reaumur used carbon to illustrate how iron can be turned into steel. Fifty years later, in 1772 Antoine Lavoisier demonstrated how diamonds were actually a form of carbon, and in 1779 Carl Wilhelm Scheele proved that graphite (commonly found in pencils) was not actually a form of lead, but of carbon.
From radioactivity to writing a letter, carbon can display a myriad of remarkable properties. It is found in marble, limestone, magnesium, and calcium. It has allotropes, compounds, and other formulations that allow it to impact and influence nearly every sphere of life both on and off the planet. It is in the process of graphene manufacturing companies and in the heart of stars, it can be in organic compounds inside the bodies of animals and humans, or it can be a noxious vapour like carbon monoxide. The range and variations it displays are truly awe-inspiring.
The rarest form of carbon is a liquid. Liquid carbon dioxide is only created through extreme manmade measures, and isn’t found in nature on its own.
Although carbon is found in the elements, many of its forms are produced in factories. Graphene manufacturers, lab grown diamonds, and liquid carbon dioxide processes are just a few examples. Due to its invaluable properties carbon and its byproducts continue to serve human life on nearly every level of existence and production of its forms remains important.
From graphene manufacturing companies creating products, to diamonds found below the earth’s surface, carbon can be discovered everywhere and in nearly every thing.