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Carbon

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: ''Main Article: [[Carbon-14 dating]]''
: ''Main Article: [[Carbon-14 dating]]''
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Carbon dating is a technique used by many scientists to determine the age of certain artifacts that are believed to be under 50,000 years old.  It is used in dating bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers, etc. that were created in the relatively recent past by human means.  It is restricted to things that are living or had once lived.  It is performed by using Carbon-14, an isotope of Carbon.  Carbon-14 is formed when cosmic ray protons blast nuclei in the upper atmosphere.  This produces neutrons, which bombard nitrogen, which produces the radioactive isotope of Carbon-14.  Carbon-14 is incorporated in all living things because it combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide.  Carbon-14 dating is used by measuring the quantity of Carbon-14 isotopes in the sample and comparing them with current atmospheric levels.  Like all radiometric dating techniques, assumptions regarding past levels of <sup>14</sup>C may greatly affect the validity of the dates generated by this method.
+
Carbon dating is a technique used by many scientists to determine the age of certain artifacts that are believed to be under 50,000 years old.  It is used in dating bone, cloth, wood and [[plant fibers]], etc. that were created in the relatively recent past by human means.  It is restricted to things that are living or had once lived.  It is performed by using Carbon-14, an isotope of Carbon.  Carbon-14 is formed when cosmic ray protons blast nuclei in the upper atmosphere.  This produces neutrons, which bombard nitrogen, which produces the radioactive isotope of Carbon-14.  Carbon-14 is incorporated in all living things because it combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide.  Carbon-14 dating is used by measuring the quantity of Carbon-14 isotopes in the sample and comparing them with current atmospheric levels.  Like all radiometric dating techniques, assumptions regarding past levels of <sup>14</sup>C may greatly affect the validity of the dates generated by this method.
{{chemistry portal}}
{{chemistry portal}}

Revision as of 01:52, 11 May 2010

Carbon
Carbon
General Info
Atomic Symbol C
Atomic Number 6
Atomic Weight 12.0107 g/mol12.011 amu
Chemical series Nonmetals
Appearance Black (graphite) Clear (diamond)
Sample of Carbon.jpg
Group, Period, Block 14, 2, p
Electron configuration 1s2, 2s2, 2p2
Electrons per shell 2, 4
Electron shell Carbon.png
CAS number 7440-44-0
Physical properties
Phase solid
Density 0.002267 g/ml
Melting point 3800 K3,526.85 °C
6,380.33 °F
6,840 °R
Boiling point 4300 K4,026.85 °C
7,280.33 °F
7,740 °R
Isotopes of Carbon
iso NA half-life DT DE (MeV) DP
12C 98.9% 12C is stable with 6 neutrons.
13C 1.1% 13C is stable with 7 neutrons.
14C trace 5730y β⁻ 0.156 14N
All properties are for STP unless otherwise stated.

Carbon, denoted by the symbol C, is the sixth element in the periodic table and the sixth most abundant element in the universe. Its atomic mass is 12.0107 and has an atomic number of 6. It has 6 electrons and 6 protons. All organic compounds contains carbon.

Graphite and diamond are the most common crystalline forms of carbon. Although they are made up of same element, they have different bonding which changes their structures. Diamond has a strong and rigid structure to its strong covalent bonding. However, graphite is covalently bonded in parallel planes, forming a substance that is easily broken because of weak intermolecular bonds between the sheets.

Contents

Properties

Eight Allotropes Of Carbon - a) Diamond, b) Graphite, c) Lonsdaleite, d) Buckminsterfullerene (C60), e) C540, f) C70, g) Amorphous carbon, h) single-walled carbon nanotube.

Carbon has been discovered to exist as many allotropes and an even greater number of compounds. As its place on the periodic table shows, it has useful properties and a great number of uses. Carbon is one of the most used elements, and every organic thing contains carbon. Carbon's place in the periodic table explains how it bonds and forms so many things. Carbon has the ability to form covalent bonds with itself, making ring, chain, or cage molecules. This process is called catenation. Elements catenate based on their bond energy. Carbon is not the only element that can do this, but it is certainly the most well-known. Carbon has a whole field of science devoted to it: Organic Chemistry. This field studies the catenation process of carbon, and its ability to form compounds with almost every other element, especially hydrogen. Carbon usually exists in two forms: diamond and graphite. Diamond is known as the hardest substance in the world; nothing can even scratch it except another diamond, it is a great electrical insulator, and is very abrasive. Graphite, however, is actually one of the softest minerals known to man, a good conductor of electricity, and an excellent lubricant. Other forms with less crystallinity than graphite and diamond are vegetal carbon and black fume. Carbon's density ranges from about 2.25 g/cm³ for graphite, and 3.51 g/cm³ for diamond. The melting point of graphite is 3500ºC (6332ºF) and the boiling point is 4830ºC (8726ºF). Carbon is what is called an inert substance, meaning that it is insoluble in water, organic solvents, and even diluted acids and bases. It bonds with oxygen at high temperatures to produce carbon monoxide or dioxide.[1]

Occurrences

File:Carbon sequestration.jpg
Carbon sequestration

The unique properties of carbon allow it to participate as a component of a great many different compounds; more in fact than all other elements combined.[2] It is in the clothes we wear, the make-up we use, the gas that runs our cars, and the food that we eat. Carbon plays a major role in the chemistry of life, and is the sixth most abundant element in the universe. The earliest form of manufacturing carbon was through the burning of organic material to produce charcoal.[3] A fourth allotrope of carbon, known as white carbon, was made in 1969. It is a transparent substance that can split a single beam of light into two beams, which is known as birefringence. Large molecules consisting only of carbon, known as buckyballs (buckminsterfullerenes), have recently been discovered. A single buckyball consists of 60 or 70 carbon atoms, linked together in a structure that looks a lot like a soccer ball. They are capable of trapping other atoms in their structure, look like they are capable of surviving great pressures, and have magnetic and superconductive properties.

Diamond

There are four classes of allotropes of carbon: amorphous, diamond, graphite, and the fullerenes which are found in several shapes, such as the buckyball (Buckminsterfullerene). A new (fifth) allotrope of carbon was recently found. It is a spongy solid that is extremely lightweight and, unusually, attracted to magnets.

Uses

Carbon's properties vary depending on how the atoms are bonded together, which ultimately determines whether it forms a diamond or graphite, for instance. Therefore, carbon also varies greatly in its uses, which include pencil lead (graphite), steel, tire colorant, plastics (such as bottles and legos), paint pigments, and lubricants made out of graphite. Carbon bonds easily with almost all of the other elements, and therefore has the uncanny ability to make thousands of different compounds, ranging from insulated to non-insulated, abrasive to lubricant, and many other things. Carbon-14, which is radioactive, is used in carbon dating, which is seeing how old something is by finding out how much Carbon-14 is in an item compared to something relatively new.[4]

Isotopes

Main Article: Isotopes
Carbon Nanotube.

Carbon has three isotopes: 12C, 13C, and 14C. The most common isotope of carbon is 12C, which makes up 98.89% of all carbon in the world. The second-most common form, 13C, makes up just 1.11% of all carbon. These two stable isotopes of carbon are found naturally on Earth. Living matter (like humans, plants, and animals) takes up carbon through CO2 in the atmosphere. This matter often prefers to break weaker, light-isotope bonds, leaving the strong bonds to make up the matter. Fractioning these isotopes to definable ranges requires moderate environmental conditions. Measuring this fraction (13C/12C or d13C) enables scientists to determine a range of factors for a certain item.

Carbon-14 is formed in two different ways. It is created naturally when cosmic rays in the Earth's lower atmosphere cause some of the atoms in the upper atmosphere to fly apart into tiny pieces. Neutrons that come from these broken molecules run into other molecules, causing chemical reactions. When a neutron reacts with a 14Nitrogen atom, the result is 14Carbon. 14C is also formed through man-made reactions. Much 14C has been added to the atmosphere from the nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s and the use of nuclear power today.[5]

Carbon Dating

Main Article: Carbon-14 dating

Carbon dating is a technique used by many scientists to determine the age of certain artifacts that are believed to be under 50,000 years old. It is used in dating bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers, etc. that were created in the relatively recent past by human means. It is restricted to things that are living or had once lived. It is performed by using Carbon-14, an isotope of Carbon. Carbon-14 is formed when cosmic ray protons blast nuclei in the upper atmosphere. This produces neutrons, which bombard nitrogen, which produces the radioactive isotope of Carbon-14. Carbon-14 is incorporated in all living things because it combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide. Carbon-14 dating is used by measuring the quantity of Carbon-14 isotopes in the sample and comparing them with current atmospheric levels. Like all radiometric dating techniques, assumptions regarding past levels of 14C may greatly affect the validity of the dates generated by this method.

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