Simple Science

Uses Of Carbon

Liquid CarbonPhoto by memoryleakx

Carbon has been known since ancient times. It is the 6th most abundant element in the universe and is most commonly obtained from coal deposits. However, it often must be processed into a form suitable for commercial use. Carbon can be found in Group 14 of the periodic table, and its atomic number is 6.

There are three allotropes of carbon which are found naturally – amorphous carbon, diamonds, and graphite. This element can combine with almost any other element and form many useful compounds. Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are the most commonly found compounds of carbon. Carbon has a number of uses in our everyday lives and is one of the most stable elements known to man. In this article we will discuss all the uses of this non-metallic element.

Common uses

Tools, heat resistant devices and metal cutters have carbon built in. Carbon is also used in machinery and cooling systems. Carbon monoxide is used as a reduction agent, which is necessary to get compounds as well as other elements. As carbon dioxide, it can be found in carbonated and fizzy drinks, fire extinguishers, and dry ice. Sometimes, vegetal carbon is used as a bleaching agent or gas absorbent. In addition, the same element is used as a decorative tool for jewelry. Carbon is applied as a black fume pigment in car rims and many inkjet printers use carbon as ink base.

Carbon element’s application


Graphite is one of the softest and most versatile of the three carbon allotropes. It’s used in pencil lead, steel processing and lubricant. The carbon diamond element has a number of commercial and industrial uses. It’s the hardest and is considered as one of the most precious gemstones on the planet. Diamonds are also used for cutting, aside from being a valued piece of jewelry.

Carbon and the human body

People need carbon in many phases of their development. This element functions as a body macronutrient. Carbon traces can be found in all parts of the body. The element is used by intricate life processes as a building block. Without it, the atoms in our bodies will disperse.

Carbon dating

Carbon dating is a technique that is used to determine the age of fossils and minerals. Carbon-14, a radioactive isotope, is used to perform this activity. The technique can be performed on deceased life forms, but it can’t be used for rocks.

Other uses

One of its main applications is in the shape of hydrocarbons as methane gas or crude oil. The first is used to produce gasoline and kerosene via distillation. The element can turn iron ore to pure iron when in coke form. The nonmetallic element can be mixed with silicon, tungsten, boron or titanium. Hard compounds can be produced when carbon is combined with any of these elements. These types are utilized for cutting or grinding tools. Activated charcoal is used as an adsorbent filter and among these are water purifiers, kitchen extractor hoods and gas masks. In addition, the same element can be utilized in medicine to take out gases, toxins and poisons.

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