Carbon is the chemical element of the periodic table of elements which has the C symbol and atomic number 6. It is a non-metallic element, tetravalent (and rarely bivalent ), insoluble in solvents, odorless and tasteless.
Its different shapes (or more precisely allotropic ones) include one of the softest (graphite) and the hardest (diamond) materials known. Other allotropic carbon forms are amorphous carbon and fullerenes.
In addition, it has a great affinity for chemical bonds with atoms of other low-atomic elements (including carbon itself) and its small dimensions make it able to form multiple bonds (property called "desmalusogenia"). These properties allow the existence of 10 million carbon compounds.
Carbon compounds form the basis of all life on Earth and the carbon-nitrogen cycle provides part of the energy produced by the stars.
Carbon is found in all organic forms of life and is the basis of organic chemistry. Such non-metal has the interesting feature of being able to bind itself and with a wide range of elements (producing more than 10 million compounds). Combined with oxygen forms carbon dioxide, which is absolutely vital to plant growth. Hydrogen compounds form various compounds called "hydrocarbons", which are essential for the industry in the form of fossil fuels. Combined with oxygen and hydrogen form various groups of compounds, including fatty acids, essential for life, and esters that give flavor to many fruits.
Although the most common isotope is carbon-12 (whose nucleus consists of 6 protons and 6 neutrons), the carbon-14 isotope is also of crucial importance for its practical applications, being commonly used for dating Radioactive of ancient finds.
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