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The computer screen on which you are reading this article, the clothes that you are wearing, the food that you eat and even the cars in which you ride all have one thing in common. What is this thing? They all are comprised of some element of carbon. Actually, all organic things are made up of carbon. This is why the study of carbon and its components is so important.More About CarbonThe origin of the name ‘carbon’ is a Latin word ‘carbo’ which means charcoal. This may come as a surprise to you, but carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the entire universe. And it is the second most abundant element in our bodies, the first being oxygen. As a matter of fact, all organic substances in the world contain carbon in some form or element, which is why carbon is the base for the entire branch of organic chemistry.Carbon AtomThe atomic number of carbon is 6, which represents the number of carbon’s electrons. It is represented by the symbol C and is a non-metal. Carbon has 6 protons, 6 neutrons and obviously 6 electrons. A carbon atom is considered to be special and unique because it can bond with other carbon atoms to an almost unlimited degree. It is because the carbon atom is very small in size and can conveniently fit in as a part of larger molecules. Each carbon atom has four electrons in its outer shell called valence electrons and can form for chemical bonds with other atoms and molecules.Physical Properties of CarbonThe physical properties of carbon vary according to its allotropes. The two major allotropes of carbon are diamond and graphite. These two have almost opposing physical properties.Whereas diamond is transparent and has no colour, graphite is opaque and blackDiamond is the hardest substance known to man, graphite is soft and spongy in textureNow diamond cannot conduct electricity at all, graphite is a very good conductor of electricityBoth allotropic elements are solid, non-gaseous.Also both diamond and graphite are insoluble in water.Carbon does not melt when heated, it sublimes which is it turns to gaseous form.Uses of Carbon in daily lifeNow you may not even notice but carbon is used in so many daily activities. Some of the most important uses of carbon areCarbon is very important for our survival. Carbon makes up for 18% of the human body. Sugar, glucose, proteins etc are all made up of carbon. The food we eat contains an important source of energy which we call carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are nothing but elements of carbon itself.Carbon in its diamond form is used in jewellery obviously. But diamonds are also used for industrial purposes. It is the hardest substance known to man and so has many uses in manufacturing also,Amorphous carbon is used to make inks and paints. It is also used in batteries.Graphite is used as the lead in your pencils. It is also used in the production of steel.One of the most important uses of carbon is called carbon dating. We can actually use carbon to measure the age of things. Scientists use a rare form of carbon called Carbon-14 to measure the age of fossils, bones etc. The release of this carbon-14 is recorded to estimate the life of the said organic substance. This is how scientists find the age and period of dinosaur bones and fossils!So as you can see from the facts given above carbon is an interesting element with uncountable uses. This is why a detailed study of carbon is essential in Chemistry.Solved Example for YouQ: Two adjacent layers in graphite are bonded by comparatively _______ forces.StrongWeakLooseNone of the aboveSolution: The correct answer is option “b”. Graphite is an allotrope of carbon. Each carbon is covalently bonded to other three carbon atoms. These layers slid over each other easily because of the weak Van der Walls forces between them.

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