Carbon, Carbon Dioxide and Its Properties in Full Detail

Carbon is a chemical element number 6 in the periodic table. The symbol of Carbon is C. The atomic weight of Carbon is 12.011 and the melting point of Carbon is 3550 degrees Celcius. Carbon has a boiling point of 4827-degree celcius.

Where does the name Carbon come from?

The name Carbon comes from the Latin name Carbo meaning charcoal. Carbon in all forms except the radioactive isotopes have been known from ancient times. Allotropic forms include graphite and diamond.

Facts about Carbon Chemical Element

Carbon is not the most common chemical element in the earth’s crust. In fact, Carbon is not even among the top ten. Carbon constitutes only 0.027% of the earth’s crust. There is more of the less familiar chemical element, titanium, in the earth than carbon. The earth is indeed a strange place, then, because carbon is the sixth most abundant atom in the cosmos Carbon is the most abundant element we usually regard as being a solid, but the higher concentrations must be somewhere else in the cosmos.

Occurrences of carbon
Although some carbon occurs in elemental form as graphite and diamond, most carbon is found in combined form. Over half of carbon found occurs in carbonate compounds such as CaCO3 . Carbon is also found in coal, petroleum, and natural gas.

Carbon Dioxide
Carbon dioxide is the most common carbon compound. Two carbon compounds, carbon dioxide and methane are among the gasses commonly found in the earth’s atmosphere.

Common Carbon Containing Gases – Carbon Dioxide and Methane
There is a couple of carbon-containing gasses in the earth’s atmosphere. They are carbon dioxide and methane (also known as natural gas). Although the portions tend to get lost among the vast quantities of nitrogen and oxygen, the carbon gasses can be concentrated and applied in many useful ways.

Carbon ‘s role on Earth
Carbon ‘s most critical role on earth is its place in life forms, both plant and animal life. Every living cell is built from molecules that include carbon and hydrogen atoms. Every organic molecule from human brain cells to gasoline are structures that include carbon atoms.

Historical background of Carbon
Applications of charcoal, coal, and soot reach back into prehistoric times. Diamonds have been known as precious gems from the times of the earliest written records. These are all forms of natural carbon. There is no way that the discovery of element 6, carbon, can be attributed to an individual.

The history of carbon is largely concerned with the chemistry of the late 1700s. During this time, several renowned chemists were able to show that amorphous carbon (also known as soot, or lampblack), graphite, and diamond were simply different forms of the same element.

Carbon Properties
Carbon heads the list of Group-IVA elements. Carbon combines very slowly with oxygen at room temperatures. At moderately high temperatures, however, carbon combines with oxygen quite readily. It can even be said that carbon becomes “oxygen hungry” at red-hot temperatures.

Most metals can be reduced from their oxides simply by heating them in the presence of carbon. Iron, for example, is reduced from iron oxide by heating it in the presence of a form of carbon known as coke.

Carbon has three well-known allotropic forms: amorphous, graphite, and diamond. Unlike the allotropic forms of most other elements, the transition from one form of carbon to another is not a simple matter of changing its temperature. The allotropes of carbon are originally formed under certain conditions of raw materials, pressure, temperature, and time. Once the allotropic form is set, it is extremely difficult to force the transition to a different form.

Carbon Production

Most elemental carbon is taken directly from the earth, mostly in the form of coal, but also as natural graphite and diamonds. These natural forms are not suitable for all of the modern applications of carbon, so there have to be commercial procedures for producing alternative forms. The production method that is used in any given instance depends largely upon the type of carbon product that is desired.
Coke, for example, is a graphite product that is about 94% carbon. Large amounts must be produced each year to meet the demands of metal refineries. It is produced by heating soft coal in an oven that has no access to outside air. This burns off most of the impurities, leaving a fairly pure form of carbon. The product is crushed into pieces between one and four inches in diameter.


Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is best known as a toxic gas that is generated by the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbon fuels, including natural gas and gasoline. The chemical element symbol of Carbon Monoxide is simply CO.

How is Carbon Monoxide produced?
Carbon Monoxide is produced by improperly vented gas heaters and confined automobile exhaust fumes. The production of Carbon Monoxide by these methods is responsible for hundreds of accidental deaths in the United States each year.

Laboratory preparation of Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide can be prepared on a laboratory scale by a reaction between formic acid and concentrated sulfuric acid. The result is carbon monoxide gas and dilute sulfuric acid:

HCOOH + H2S04 black-arrow-01_R CO + H2S04 . H20
(formic acid + sulfuric acid black-arrow-01_R carbon monoxide + dilute sulfuric acid)

You can substitute most other organic acids for formic acid, but the gas will be a mixture of CO and carbon dioxide (symbol C02).

Commercial Scale Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is prepared on a commercial scale by passing superheated water vapor at 600 °C -1000 °C over carbon. The result is a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas. The tricky part of this operation is making certain the temperature remains above 500 °C. The process is endothermic. In other words, the reaction absorbs heat energy and tends to cool its own environment; if the temperature is allowed to fall below 500 °C, the reaction yields carbon dioxide (C02) instead of carbon monoxide. This procedure is also used for producing large amounts of hydrogen gas. The resulting mixture is called water gas.

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