Periodic Table of Elements

Element Carbon - C

Comprehensive data on the chemical element Carbon is provided on this page; including scores of properties, element names in many languages, most known nuclides of Carbon. Common chemical compounds are also provided for many elements. In addition technical terms are linked to their definitions and the menu contains links to related articles that are a great aid in one's studies.

Carbon Menu

Overview of Carbon

Carbon's Name in Other Languages

  • Latin: Carboneum
  • Czech: Uhlík
  • Croatian: Ugljik
  • French: Carbone
  • German: Kohlenstoff - r
  • Italian: Carbonio
  • Norwegian: Karbon
  • Portuguese: Carbono
  • Russian: Углерод
  • Spanish: Carbono
  • Swedish: Kol

Atomic Structure of Carbon

Chemical Properties of Carbon

Physical Properties of Carbon

Regulatory / Health

  • CAS Number
    • 7440-44-0 synthetic
    • 7782-42-5 natural
  • UN/NA ID and ERG Guide Number
    • 1362  / 133 activated carbon
  • RTECS: MD9659600
  • OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL)
  • OSHA PEL Vacated 1989
    • TWA: 2.5 mg/m3
    • Notes: respirable particulate
  • NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit (REL)
    • TWA: 2.5 mg/m3
    • Notes: respirable particulate
    • IDLH: 1250 mg/m3
  • Routes of Exposure: Inhalation; Skin and/or eye contact
  • Target Organs: Respiratory system, cardiovascular system
  • Levels In Humans:
    Note: this data represents naturally occuring levels of elements in the typical human, it DOES NOT represent recommended daily allowances.
    • Blood/mg dm-3: 0.0016-0.075
    • Bone/p.p.m: 300,000
    • Liver/p.p.m: 670,000
    • Muscle/p.p.m: 670,000
    • Daily Dietary Intake: 300 g
    • Total Mass In Avg. 70kg human: 16 kg

Who / Where / When / How

  • Discoverer: Known to prehistoric humans
  • Discovery Location: ?
  • Discovery Year: Unknown
  • Name Origin:
    Latin: carbo.
  • Abundance of Carbon:
    • Earth's Crust/p.p.m.: 480
    • Seawater/p.p.m.:
      • Atlantic Suface: 23
      • Atlantic Deep: 26
      • Pacific Surface: 23
      • Pacific Deep: 28
    • Atmosphere/p.p.m.: 350
    • Sun (Relative to H=1E12): 4.17
  • Sources of Carbon:
    Made by burning organic compounds with insufficient oxygen. Graphite deposits are found in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Russia, South Korea, Mexico, Czech Republic and Italy. Diamonds are primarily found in South Africa, USA, Russia, Brazil, Zaire, Sierra Leone and Ghana. Fossile carbon production in 1996 was around 8,600,000,000 tons. Approximate fossil fuel production per year: natural gas 2,000,000,000 tons; oil 3,300,000,000 tons; coal 2,300,000,000 tons.
  • Uses of Carbon:
    As carbon's major properties very widely depending upon its form, carbon's uses also very greatly. Carbon-14 which is radioactive is used in "carbon dating" (telling how old something is by determining the amount of Carbon-14 present in the item being tested as compared to a standard value for a similar object which is new). Other uses include pencils, diamonds, steel, controls nuclear reactions, tire colorant, plastics, paint pigments, lubricants and much more.
  • Additional Notes:

    Carbon has many allotropes each having very different physical properties from the other. Graphite (pencil lead) for instance is one of the softest forms of carbon, while diamonds are the hardest.

    Carbon compounds are named according to the number of carbons present in the basic chain, the presence of single, double or triple bonds, whether or not the carbon chain forms a cyclic structure and the elements or ions that substitute for hydrogens in the chain. A carbon compound with one carbon atom is a methyl-, two is an ethyl- , three is a propyl-, four bytyl-, five penta, six hexa-, etc. Single a bonded hydrocarbon (hydrogen-carbon structure) is an alkane, double bond is an alkene and a triple bond is an alkyne.

    With more than eighteen million compounds of carbon registered with the Chemical Abstract Registry (CAS), there is much to say about carbon. So much in fact that there is an entire field of chemistry called organic chemistry that is devoted to these compounds. One could get a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and still feel that one had barely gotten their feet wet.

Carbon Menu


A list of reference sources used to compile the data provided on our periodic table of elements can be found on the main periodic table page.

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