Atomic number: 6

Symbol: C

Category: non metal

Density at 25°C: solid, varies from 1.8 to 3.515

Carbon is perhaps one of the most familiar elements as it is often very easy to obtain in almost pure form.  It is contained in all living systems, hence the term carbon based life form. Carbon is also, ironically, the gold standard for calculating the amount of substance in a sample (mole) of gold or any element for that matter. 


Diamond is a form of carbon. image:Rob Lavinsky,

Use, natural applications or common combinations: 

  • just about everything, all life
  • special forms, especially graphite, diamond, buckyballs

Basic characteristics:

  • Standard atomic weight: [12.0096; 12.0116] why this variation?
  • Melting point: 
    •  it doesn't melt at normal pressures, it becomes a gas (sublimes) at 5,530 °C
  • Boiling point: 3927 °C
  • Radioactivity: 
    • selected isoptopes: 14C half life 5,730 years  via beta- decay to become 14N