Carbon is an element with atomic number 6.
It is one of the most abundant elements in the earth.
It is present as both as pure elemental carbon and also as complex with other elements.
It is highly reactive and hence forms many different substances. And almost all of the substances have some important uses in human life.
The substances made by carbon are present in solids, liquids and even gaseous forms.
The list of substances and their role is so vast that it is studied as separate branch of science.
It is extensively studied as a part of organic chemistry.
This means compounds having carbon in their structure.
What is Carbon Used for?
Carbon is available in different forms as natural, artificial and synthetic ones.
The natural carbon forms include
Solids: Diamond, graphite (pencil nib), charcoal.
Carbon is not available in elemental form in gaseous or liquid forms.
Carbon is available as artificial ones in all the three states. The artificial forms mean those carbon
compounds formed by reaction of carbon with other elements.
These are also formed naturally in the nature. But they might have formed after the emergence of life on
The examples for these compounds include
Solids: Food materials, gums, tannins, resins, glycosides, alkaloids, proteins, carbohydrates etc.
Liquids: Petroleum, rubber, oils etc.
Gases: Carbon-dioxide, carbon-monoxide, methane.
Synthetic carbon compounds are those which do not exist in nature. But they are made by human for different uses.
Solids forms: Drugs, medicines, plastic,
Liquid forms: Pesticides, poisons, ink, coolants (used in refrigerators), paints
Gases: Acetylene (gas welding, spectroscopy), ethylene oxide (sterilization), halothane (aesthetic)
Seeing the above examples we could now understand the uses of carbon.
Carbon particles: Carbon particles are used in mouth piece of telephone. They produce varying electric signals by vibrations to the sound at mouth piece. Also the same carbon particles are used in making of speaker of music systems.
Diamonds: These are used for jewellery.
Graphite: Is used to make pencils and has very good electric conductivity.
Coal: It is used as fuel. While charcoal is used to make activated charcoal which is used as antidote in poisonings.
Food: Is used as fuel for living beings. Carbon is present as carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Drugs: Alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, gums are used in medicine for their desired properties. Example Digitalis is
a glycoside and is used for cardiac myopathy, Tannins are used as laxatives.
Petroleum is used a fuel for automobiles.
Drugs and medicines present in market are mostly organic in nature. They have carbon element in them.
Gases like carbon-dioxide are used to reduce explosions. So it used in combination with highly flammable
gases. Besides it is also used as coolant to reduce temperature in air condition systems and refrigerators.