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About Carbon

Carbon Bohr

Carbon in its purest form has very low toxicity. Carbon black dust, such as soot or coal dust, can cause irritation and damage to the lungs when inhaled in large quantities. Safety data for Carbon and its compounds can vary widely depending on the form. For potential hazard information, toxicity, and road, sea and air transportation limitations, such as DOT Hazard Class, DOT Number, EU Number, NFPA Health rating and RTECS Class, please see the specific material or compound referenced in the Products tab below.

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Semiconductor & Optical

Due to their extreme hardness and resistance to heat and pressure, diamond and diamond micropowder have numerous industrial applications in geological drilling Ultra High Purity (99.999%) Carbon (C) Powderbits, grinding media and as a high-strength/ high-temperature abrasive. Carbon also finds application in steel alloys, in various filtering and purification technologies, and as a neutron moderator in nuclear power plants. Carbon is available in its elemental form and as compounds with purities from 99% to 99.999% (ACS grade to ultra-high purity). Elemental or metallic forms include pellets, rod, wire and granules for evaporation source material purposes. Carbon nanoparticles and nanopowders provide ultra-high surface area which nanotechnology research and recent experiments demonstrate function to create new and unique properties and benefits. Oxides are available in powder and dense pellet form for such uses as optical coating and thin film applications. Oxides tend to be insoluble. Fluorides are another insoluble form for uses in which oxygen is undesirable such as metallurgy, chemical and physical vapor deposition and in some optical coatings. Carbon is also available in soluble forms including chlorides, nitrates and acetates. These compounds can be manufactured as solutions at specified stoichiometries.

Carbon Properties

Carbon (C) atomic and molecular weight, atomic number and elemental symbolCarbon is a Block P, Group 12, Period 2 element. Carbon Bohr ModelThe number of electrons in each of Carbon's shells is 2, 4 and its electron configuration is [He] 2s2 2p2. In its elemental form, carbon's CAS number is 7440-44-0. Carbon is at the same time one of the softest (graphite) and hardest (diamond) materials found in nature. It is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth's crust, and the fourth most abundant element (by mass) in the universe after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. Carbon was discovered by the Egyptians and Sumerians circa 3750 BC. It was first recognized as an element by Antoine Lavoisierby in 1789.

Symbol: C
Atomic Number: 6
Atomic Weight: 12.01
Element Category: nonmetal
Group, Period, Block: 14, 2, p
Color: black (graphite), transparent/colourless (diamond)
Other Names: Carbone, Carbonio
Melting Point: 3825 °C, 6917 °F, 4098.15 K
Boiling Point: Sublimes
Density: 2.267 g/cm3 @ 20 °C
Liquid Density @ Melting Point: N/A
Density @ 20°C: 2.267 g/cm3 (gr), 3.513 g/cm3(di)
Density of Solid: 2267 kg·m3
Specific Heat: N/A
Superconductivity Temperature: N/A
Triple Point: 4600 K, 10800 kPa
Critical Point: N/A
Heat of Fusion (kJ·mol-1): 105
Heat of Vaporization (kJ·mol-1): 710.9
Heat of Atomization (kJ·mol-1): 711.2
Thermal Conductivity: 119-165 W/m/K
Thermal Expansion: (25 °C) 0.8 (diamond) µm·m-1·K-1
Electrical Resistivity: N/A
Tensile Strength: N/A
Molar Heat Capacity: 8.517 (graphite) J·mol-1·K-1, 6.155 (diamond) J·mol-1·K-1
Young's Modulus: 1050 (diamond) GPa
Shear Modulus: 478 (diamond) GPa
Bulk Modulus: 442 (diamond) GPa
Poisson Ratio: 0.1 (diamond)
Mohs Hardness: 10 (diamond) 1-2 (graphite)
Vickers Hardness: N/A
Brinell Hardness: N/A
Speed of Sound: (20 °C) 18350 (diamond) m·s-1
Pauling Electronegativity: 2.55
Sanderson Electronegativity: 2.75
Allred Rochow Electronegativity: 2.5
Mulliken-Jaffe Electronegativity: 2.48 (sp3 orbital)
Allen Electronegativity: 2.544
Pauling Electropositivity: 1.45
Reflectivity (%): 27
Refractive Index: 2.417 (diamond)
Electrons: 6
Protons: 6
Neutrons: 6
Electron Configuration: [He] 2s2 2p2
Atomic Radius: N/A
Atomic Radius,
non-bonded (Å):
Covalent Radius: 77(sp³), 73(sp²), 69(sp) pm
Covalent Radius (Å): 0.75
Van der Waals Radius: N/A
Oxidation States: 170 pm
Phase: 2, 4, -4
Crystal Structure: Solid
Magnetic Ordering: simple hexagonal
Electron Affinity (kJ·mol-1) 121.733
1st Ionization Energy: 1086.46 kJ·mol-1
2nd Ionization Energy: 1086.46 kJ·mol-1
3rd Ionization Energy: 2352.6 kJ·mol-1
CAS Number: 7440-44-0
EC Number: 231-153-3
MDL Number: MFCD00133992
Beilstein Number: N/A
SMILES Identifier: C
InChI Identifier: InChI=1S/C
PubChem CID: 297
ChemSpider ID: 4575370
Earth - Total: 446 ppm
Mercury - Total: 5.1 ppm
Venus - Total: 468 ppm
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by weight: 28000
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by atoms: 14400
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by weight: 1800000
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by atoms: 3100000
Sun - Total, ppb by weight: 3000000
Sun - Total, ppb by atoms: 300000
Stream, ppb by weight: 1200
Stream, ppb by atoms: 100
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by weight: 15000000
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by atoms: 18000000
Typical Human Body, ppb by weight: N/A
Typical Human Body, ppb by atom: N/A
Universe, ppb by weight: N/A
Universe, ppb by atom: N/A
Discovered By: Egyptians and Sumerians
Discovery Date: circa 3750 BC
First Isolation: N/A

Health, Safety & Transportation Information for Carbon

Carbon in its purest form has very low toxicity. Carbon black dust, such as soot or coal dust, can cause irritation and damage to the lungs when inhaled in large quantities. Safety data for Carbon and its compounds can vary widely depending on the form. For potential hazard information, toxicity, and road, sea and air transportation limitations, such as DOT Hazard Class, DOT Number, EU Number, NFPA Health rating and RTECS Class, please see the specific material or compound referenced in the Products tab.

Safety Data
Material Safety Data Sheet MSDS
Signal Word N/A
Hazard Statements N/A
Hazard Codes N/A
Risk Codes N/A
Safety Precautions N/A
RTECS Number FF5250100
Transport Information N/A
WGK Germany 3
Globally Harmonized System of
Classification and Labelling (GHS)

Carbon Isotopes

Carbon has two stable isotopes: 12C and 13C.

Nuclide Isotopic Mass Half-Life Mode of Decay Nuclear Spin Magnetic Moment Binding Energy (MeV) Natural Abundance
(% by atom)
8C 8.037675(25) 2.0(4) x 10-21 s [230(50) keV] 2p to 6Be 0+ N/A 22.87 -
9C 9.0310367(23) 126.5(9) ms EC to 9B; EC + p to 8Be; EC + 2α to 2H (3/2-) N/A 37.1 -
10C 10.0168532(4) 19.290(12) s EC to 10B 0+ N/A 59.15 -
11C 11.0114336(10) 20.334(24) min EC to 11B 3/2- -0.964 71.89 -
12C 12 exactly STABLE - 0+ 0 90.21 98.93
13C 13.0033548378(10) STABLE - 1/2- 0.702411 95.5 1.07
14C 14.003241989(4) 5.70(3) x 103 yeyrs β- to 14N 0+ N/A 103.57 -
15C 15.0105993(9) 2.449(5) s β- to 15N 1/2+ 1.32 105.13 -
16C 16.014701(4) 0.747(8) s β- to 16N 0+ N/A 109.48 -
17C 17.022586(19) 193(5) ms β- to 17N; β- + n to 16N (3/2+) N/A 110.11 -
18C 18.02676(3) 92(2) ms β- to 18N; β- + n to 17N 0+ N/A 114.46 -
19C 19.03481(11) 46.2(23) ms β- + n to 18N; β- to 19N; β- + 2n to 17N (1/2+) N/A 115.09 -
20C 20.04032(26) 16(3) ms [14(+6-5) ms] β- + n to 19N; β- to 20N 0+ N/A 117.58 -
21C 21.04934(54)# <30 ns n to 20C (1/2+)# N/A 117.27 -
22C 22.05720(97)# 6.2(13) ms [6.1(+14-12) ms] β- to 22N 0+ N/A 117.9 -
Carbon Elemental Symbol

Recent Research & Development for Carbon

  • Computational protein design enables a novel one-carbon assimilation pathway. Siegel JB, Smith AL, Poust S, Wargacki AJ, Bar-Even A, Louw C, Shen BW, Eiben CB, Tran HM, Noor E, Gallaher JL, Bale J, Yoshikuni Y, Gelb MH, Keasling JD, Stoddard BL, Lidstrom ME, Baker D. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Mar 9.
  • Super-hydrophobic multi-walled carbon nanotube coatings for stainless steel. Nicola F, Castrucci P, Scarselli M, Nanni F, Cacciotti I, Crescenzi M. Nanotechnology. 2015 Mar 16
  • Carbon Monoxide Pollution and Neurodevelopment: A Public Health Concern. Levy RJ. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2015 Mar 12.
  • Biomass-derived nitrogen self-doped porous carbon as effective metal-free catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction. Liu X, Zhou Y, Zhou W, Li L, Huang S, Chen S. Nanoscale. 2015 Mar 16.
  • Synthesis and Photochemical Applications of Processable Polymers Enclosing Photoluminescent Carbon Quantum Dots. Mosconi D, Mazzier D, Silvestrini S, Privitera A, Marega C, Franco L, Moretto A. ACS Nano. 2015 Mar 15.
  • Successful Treatment of a Large Solitary Nasal Tip Trichoepithelioma Using the 10,600-nm Carbon Dioxide Laser. Yong AA, Goh CL. Dermatol Surg. 2015 Mar 12.
  • Tunable Amphiphilicity and Multifunctional Applications of Ionic-Liquid-Modified Carbon Quantum Dots. Wang B, Song A, Feng L, Ruan H, Li H, Dong S, Hao J. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2015 Mar 16.
  • The limitation of carbon sink in Western Siberian forest ecosystems. Voronin PY, Mukhin VA, Konovalov PV, Sedelnikov VP, Kuznetsov VV. Dokl Biol Sci. 2015 Jan
  • Carbon nanotube-assisted optical activation of TGF-β signalling by near-infrared light. Lin L, Liu L, Zhao B, Xie R, Lin W, Li H, Li Y, Shi M, Chen YG, Springer TA, Chen X. Nat Nanotechnol. 2015 Mar 16.
  • Determination of N-nitrosodiethanolamine, NDELA in cosmetic ingredients and products by mixed mode solid phase extraction and UPLC-tandem mass spectrometry with porous graphitic carbon column through systemic sample pre-cleanup procedure. Joo KM, Shin MS, Jung JH, Kim BM, Lee JW, Jeong HJ, Lim KM. Talanta. 2015 May
  • Tillage and crop residue management methods had minor effects on the stock and stabilization of topsoil carbon in a 30-year field experiment. Singh P, Heikkinen J, Ketoja E, Nuutinen V, Palojärvi A, Sheehy J, Esala M, Mitra S, Alakukku L, Regina K. Sci Total Environ. 2015 Mar 12
  • Permafrost carbon-climate feedback is sensitive to deep soil carbon decomposability but not deep soil nitrogen dynamics. Koven CD, Lawrence DM, Riley WJ. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Mar 9.
  • Ni-SiO2 Catalysts for the Carbon Dioxide Reforming of Methane: Varying Support Properties by Flame Spray Pyrolysis. Lovell EC, Scott J, Amal R. Molecules. 2015 Mar 12
  • [A field study of tundra plant litter decomposition rate via mass loss and carbon dioxide emission: the role of biotic and abiotic controls, biotope, season of year, and spatial-temporal scale]. [No authors listed] Zh Obshch Biol. 2014 May-Jun
  • Dynamics of Maize Carbon Contribution to Soil Organic Carbon in Association with Soil Type and Fertility Level. Pei J, Li H, Li S, An T, Farmer J, Fu S, Wang J. PLoS One. 2015 Mar 16
  • One pot synthesis of highly luminescent polyethylene glycol anchored carbon dots functionalized with a nuclear localization signal peptide for cell nucleus imaging. Yang L, Jiang W, Qiu L, Jiang X, Zuo D, Wang D, Yang L. Nanoscale. 2015 Mar 16.
  • Coupling of remote sensing, field campaign, and mechanistic and empirical modeling to monitor spatiotemporal carbon dynamics of a Mediterranean watershed in a changing regional climate. Berberoglu S, Donmez C, Evrendilek F. Environ Monit Assess. 2015 Apr
  • Non-metal single/dual doped carbon quantum dots: a general flame synthetic method and electro-catalytic properties. Han Y, Tang D, Yang Y, Li C, Kong W, Huang H, Liu Y, Kang Z. Nanoscale. 2015 Mar 16.
  • Role of integrin subunits in mesenchymal stem cell differentiation and osteoblast maturation on graphitic carbon-coated microstructured surfaces. Olivares-Navarrete R, Rodil SE, Hyzy SL, Dunn GR, Almaguer-Flores A, Schwartz Z, Boyan BD. Biomaterials. 2015 May
  • Efficient in vitro and in vivo pulmonary delivery of nucleic acid by carbon dot-based nanocarriers. Pierrat P, Wang R, Kereselidze D, Lux M, Didier P, Kichler A, Pons F, Lebeau L. Biomaterials. 2015 May