One of the key characteristics of carbon is its ability to make long chains of molecules through linking up with other carbon atoms. It is a major element in many rock formations such as limestone and marble.
Carbon also has the highest melting point of all the elements. It is found in its allotropic forms of diamond, graphite, and amorphous carbon throughout the world. Carbon is used in some way in most every industry in the world.
Allotropes are materials made from the same element, but their atoms fit together differently.
Each allotrope of carbon has different physical properties.
Isotopes There are two stable naturally occurring isotopes of carbon, carbon-12 and carbon-13.
Most carbon consists of the isotopes carbon 12 and carbon 13, which are very stable.
Because atmospheric carbon 14 arises at about the same rate that the atom decays, Earth's levels of carbon 14 have remained fairly constant.
Once an organism is dead, however, no new carbon is actively absorbed by its tissues, and its carbon 14 gradually decays.
It is even used to make black ink for printers and painting.
Graphite is often used in making batteries, brakes, and lubricants.