Author: Jan Scholten
The name carbon is derived from carbo i.e. coal. In nature it can be found in graphite, diamond and coal. Graphite has a hexagonal (6) structure and it is the 6th element.
Due to the very strong C-C bonding a carbon chain is the most easily formed chain out of all the elements. Carbon is not only the basic element in all organic life forms, it also the basic element in the petrochemical industries.
The universe contains relatively large quantities of Carbon: after Hydrogen and Helium it is the third most common element. But on earth it is quite rare: only 0.09% of the matter of the earth’s crust consists of Carbon. It is, however, the basic element in all living beings. In that sense we could call living beings ‘carbon collectors’.
Carbon increases the strength and hardness of steel.