A1.2.4 Carbon


Carbon is a chemical element, with the chemical symbol of C. It is present naturally as graphite and diamond.

Carbon is extremely widespread on earth. All organic substances contain carbon. It is a constituent in many compounds. It is in the air as Carbon Dioxide, present in carbonate rocks (e.g. limestone) and is also found in water (e.g. when Carbon Dioxide dissolves).

Hydrocarbons are also commonly found. These are compounds of carbon, such as coal, petrol and natural gas.

Carbon-related processes are key drivers of global climate change.

Conversion of carbon is rare and therefore the carbon cycle is a closed system.

Industrial Applications:

A common industrial application of carbon is the use of industrial diamonds, which are used in precision cutting tools.

However, many industrial processes release carbon as a by-product (in forms such as carbon dioxide) and it is these that have the greatest effect on the carbon cycle.