This black soot, also known as lampblack, gas black, channel black or carbon black, is used to make inks, paints and rubber products.It can also be pressed into shapes and is used to form the cores of most dry cell batteries, among other things. History and Uses: Carbon, the sixth most abundant element in the universe, has been known since ancient times.Amorphous carbon is formed when a material containing carbon is burned without enough oxygen for it to burn completely.Graphite, one of the softest materials known, is a form of carbon that is primarily used as a lubricant.Although it does occur naturally, most commercial graphite is produced by treating petroleum coke, a black tar residue remaining after the refinement of crude oil, in an oxygen-free oven.
Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contains a constant amount of carbon-14, and as long as an organism is living, the amount of carbon-14 inside it is the same as the atmosphere.[See Periodic Table of the Elements] Carbon occurs naturally as carbon-12, which makes up almost 99 percent of the carbon in the universe; carbon-13, which makes up about 1 percent; and carbon-14, which makes up a minuscule amount of overall carbon but is very important in dating organic objects.Just the facts Carbon: From stars to life As the sixth-most abundant element in the universe, carbon forms in the belly of stars in a reaction called the triple-alpha process, according to the Swinburne Center for Astrophysics and Supercomputing.While scientists sometimes conceptualize electrons spinning around an atom's nucleus in a defined shell, they actually fly around the nucleus at various distances; this view of the carbon atom can be seen here in two electron cloud figures (bottom), showing the electrons in a single blob (the so-called s-orbital) and in a two-lobed blob or cloud (the p-orbital). It can link to itself, forming long, resilient chains called polymers.It can also bond with up to four other atoms because of its electron arrangement.