Element Rebus for Carbon


Chem4Kids Scientist Guy with Spiked Hair This is the magic element for everything on Earth. All life on Earth depends on carbon (C). It is in nearly every biological compound that makes up our bodies, systems, organs, cells, and organelles. When you breathe out, there is a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon has been known and used for thousands of years. It was never really discovered. Ancient people knew of the black soot left over after a fire. That was carbon.

Carbon is the sixth element in the periodic table. Located between boron (B) and nitrogen (N), it is a very stable element. Because it is stable, it can be found both by itself and in many naturally occurring compounds. Scientists describe the three states of carbon as diamond, amorphous, and graphite. It is the same graphite you find in pencils.

Where can you find carbon?

All plants have carbon as their most important element. Without carbon plants would not exist. That means every animal on Earth also needs carbon to survive. You can't just eat carbon, it needs to be in plants before humans can do anything with it.
When you see a diamond it is one big chunk of carbon. After a very long time and carbon is left in a very high pressure area, all of the atoms are pushed together to form a crystal. That crystal is called a diamond.
The next time your family goes to a barbecue you'll know that the main ingredient of the charcoal is carbon. Carbon compounds store lots of energy and is good at holding onto heat. That's why it's used for charcoal.
Take a look at your pencil. The black stuff you write with is made of carbon. It is a special type of carbon called graphite.
Petroleum Products
Next time you're at the gas station you can know that carbon is the most important part of gasoline. Gasoline is made up of oil and oil is created from the plants which died millions of years ago. You know there is carbon in plants... That means there is carbon in oil and gasoline.
Everything that is plastic has carbon in it. We just talked about gasoline. Like gasoline, plastic things are made from oil. That means carbon is also the most important element plastic.

► More about the orbitals and compounds of carbon.
► Next element of the periodic table.

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Related Links
- Chem4Kids: Periodic Table
- Chem4Kids: Atoms
- Chem4Kids: Compounds
- Chem4Kids: Oxygen
- Chem4Kids: Silicon
- Chem4Kids: Chemical Bonds
- Chem4Kids: Biochemistry
- Geography4Kids: Biosphere
- Geography4Kids: Carbon Cycle
- Biology4Kids: Cell Function

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