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What You Need To Know About The Existence Of Carbon On Planet Earth

Updated on November 23, 2015

Carbon In Our World

The existence of carbon on this planet

Carbon has been popular among people, from time immemorial, under the names such as charcoal, coal, coke, soot (carbon black), diamond, graphite. Among the list above, the chemically purest form of carbon is diamond and graphite. Others contain relatively large amount of impurities imbedded in them. In combine state (chemically), carbon occur in a very large proportion in starch, petroleum products, natural gas etc. Others are lime stone, dolomite, etc. Carbon can also be found in air in a combine form as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other carbon compounds present in the air at that given time.

When carbon atoms combine with one another ( catenate) and with other atoms of other elements such as oxygen, hydrogen, etc., it is known as organic compound; and its chemistry is known as organic chemistry or chemistry of life. The study of carbon and combination of carbon with other elements to form compound (where catenation does not occur) is grouped under inorganic chemistry.

Carbon cycle

Series of change which bring about continuous circulation of carbon in nature is known as carbon cycle. The volume of carbon dioxide in air which is about 0.03% is kept constant by this process. The carbon cycle maintains the process by which nature balance the rate at which carbon dioxide is released into the air with the rate at which it is removed from the air. Example of process which release carbon dioxide into the air are respiration of living organism, fermentation of carbohydrate, combustion of wood and petroleum products, etc. Process which remove carbon dioxide from the air are: dissolution of carbon dioxide in rain water and all water bodies such as lake, rivers, sea, spring , ocean etc; the use of carbon dioxide by plants during photosynthesis to produce carbohydrate in the presence of sunlight.

Form of carbon

Carbon can exist in various forms in its physical state. There is therefore no singular form to identify carbon physically. However, each of the form in which it exists can be identified. We shall look at them one by one.


Diamonds which are the hardest known substance on planet earth are colourless solids. Diamonds are colourless solids of very high density. They have very high resistance to temperature and chemical attack. Diamonds do not conduct heat or electricity. Because of the purity and lustre property, diamonds are transformed into gem.


Graphite is a soft opaque black solid. It is grouped under crystalline carbon, because of its layered structure. Graphite is a good conductor of heat and electricity. Because of its layered structure, graphite is used as a form of dry lubricants for chains and bearing of machine parts which require non sticky lubricants.

Soot (carbon black)

Soot is fine particle produced by combustion of carbonaceous substance in a limited supply of air. They are the deposit found at the top head of lantern or around the exhaust of any carbon based chamber of any burner. Soot is the main component of black shoe polish.


Coal contains 95% of carbon and 5% of impurities such as sulphur, nitrogen, phosphorus. Coal was formed during the vegetation of carboniferous era. Coal was formed by carbonization of vegetable material which involves four stages. The first stage involves the conversion of vegetable into peats. The second stage is the conversion into brown coal ( lignite). The third stage is the conversion into soft coal (bituminous coal). The final stage is the conversion into hard coal( anthracite) .


This is formed when wood, sugar, or material with high carbon content are burnt in a limited supply of air. There are different types of charcoal. They are wood charcoal, sugar charcoal, animal charcoal etc

Short History Of Carbon

Human awareness of carbon can be dated to the earliest of age. They discerned smoke fashion, when cave public ignite a flame. The dark shade smoke/flame is as a result of unburned specks of the carbon content. The fume may have gathered under the roof of the cave in form of soot.

After the creation of lamps, the public adopted lubricant as a fuel. Carbon is emancipated in the response, when lubricant burns, establishing a blurred and sooty screen on the inner part of the lamp. That form of carbon transpired in form of LAMPBLACK.

Charcoal is one of the major known forms of carbon. Charcoal could be derived after heating ligneous in a limited supply of air in such a way that it does not catch flame. The output is vapour, Instead, leaving clean carbon.

Carbon was officially categorized as a component near the extreme OF THE eighteenth century. Four French chemists wrote a book outlining a way for naming chemical substances, In 1787. Carbon, The name they used, is based ON THE earlier Latin word for charcoal, charbon.


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