The Carbon reference article from the Simple Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Carbon

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Carbon is a very important chemical element. All life on Earth is made from carbon. Carbon has atomic weight 12 and atomic number 6.

Table of contents
1 Why it is important
2 History
3 Types of carbon
4 Where it is

Why it is important

Carbon links with many other elements. Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen together form most life on earth (see Organic chemistry). Many carbon atoms linked together with hydrogen form plastic. Carbon likes to link to itself, making covalent bonds. This is why carbon is imporant.

History

The name of carbon is from Latin carbo, meaning charcoal.

Types of carbon

Carbon in nature is found in three forms: diamond, graphite, and fullerenes, called allotropes. Graphite, with clay, is in pencils. It is very soft. The carbons make rings. The rings are on top of each other. They slide very easily. Diamonds are very hard. They are the hardest natural mineral. Fullerenes are a soccer ball of carbon. They are mostly of science interest. There are 10 million known carbon compounds.

Where it is

Carbon is everywhere. It is important to the human body. It was first made in old stars. Graphite is in many areas. Diamonds are rare and are found in Africa.

Carbon in soft iron makes hard steel.