Carbon is the sixth most common element on Earth; it is an essential part of nearly all living things. 94% of the six million known compounds contain carbon, this is far more than any other element ever discovered. It has the lowest melting point of all the elements at -3550 º C, and a very high boiling point of 4827 º C. IT has a density of 2.2670 grams per cubic centimetre and at room temperature it is a solid. It has an atomic weight of 12.0107 and its atomic number is 6 making it a non-metal.
Carbon in the form of diamond is the hardest natural material on earth. Carbon is found in a wide variety of rocks, such as chalk and limestone. Compounds of carbon such as coal, natural gas and oil provide the worlds most important fuels. Carbon dioxide gas is one of the main compounds in the air, playing a very important role in controlling the temperature of the atmosphere.
Carbon is an essential part of many man-made or synthetic substances that we use in the modern world, such as plastics, all synthetic fabrics many medicines, lubricant and many other chemicals.
Although carbon is an essential part of nearly all living things it also causes some concern, contained in carbon is a substance called CFC's which have been responsible for destroying part of the worlds protective ozone layer. Other compounds such as pesticide DDT can be life threatening to humans and animals if exposed to large doses.
Originally, scientists used the term organic compounds for materials that could only be obtained from living or dead organisms. Now carbon is what is used to define organic and in-organic chemistry. Today chemists consider nearly any compound that contains carbon to be organic, whether they obtain it from...