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Carbon

Carbon


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He carbon It is a chemical element whose most abundant isotope has 6 protons and six neutrons. The atomic mass of carbon is 12,01115.

The three forms of elemental carbon existing in nature (diamond, graphite and amorphous carbon) are solid with extremely high melting points, and insoluble in all solvents at ordinary temperatures. The physical properties of the three forms differ considerably because of the differences in their crystalline structure. In diamond, the hardest material known, each atom is attached to four others in a three-dimensional structure, while graphite consists of weakly bonded sheets of atoms arranged in hexagons. Amorphous carbon is characterized by a very low degree of crystallization.

Carbon has the unique ability to bond with other carbon atoms to form very complex cyclic and chain compounds. This property leads to an almost infinite number of carbon compounds, the most common being those containing carbon and hydrogen. Carbon is the fundamental constituent of the molecules that make up life.

Its first compounds were identified in the early nineteenth century in living matter, and because of that, the study of carbon compounds was called 'organic' chemistry.

The so-called carbon 14 is a carbon isotope very useful to date the age of remains of living beings, up to 10,000 years.


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