Periodic Table of the Elements Carbon
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carbon (symbol C) Common, nonmetallic element of group IV of the periodic table. Carbon forms more compounds than all the other elements together. With hydrogen–hydocarbons and other nonmetals, it forms the basis of organic chemistry. Until recently, it was believed there were two crystalline allotropes: graphite and diamond. In 1996 a third type, ‘bucky balls’ (named after US engineer Richard Buckminster Fuller), which are shaped like geodesic domes, was discovered. Various amorphous (noncrystalline) forms of carbon also exist, such as coal, coke, and charcoal. A recently made synthetic form of carbon is carbon fibre. The isotope C14 is used for carbon dating of archaeological specimens. Properties: at.no. 6; r.a.m. 12.011; r.d. 1.9–2.3 (graphite), 3.15–3.53 (diamond); m.p. c.3550°C (6422°F); sublimes at 3367°C (6093°F); b.p. c.4200°C (7592°F); most common isotope C12 (98.89%).