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Carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass and the second most abundant element in the human body.Carbon is constantly cycled through the Earth's oceans, plant life, animal life, and atmosphere. Characteristics and Properties Carbon is found on Earth in the form of three different allotropes including amorphous, graphite, and diamond. Along with hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur, carbon is a building block of biochemical molecules ranging from fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to active substances such as hormones.All carbon atoms have a nucleus containing six protons.This means that given a statistically large sample of carbon 14, we know that if we sit it in a box, go away, and come back in 5730 years, half of it will still be carbon 14, and the other half will have decayed.Or in other words, if we have a box, and we don't know how old it is but we know it started with 100 carbon 14 atoms, and we open it and find only 50 carbon 14 atoms and some other stuff, we could say, 'Aha!Diamonds are also used for their hardness in cutting tools and precision instruments. People have known about carbon as a substance since ancient times.French scientist Antoine Lavoisier determined that diamond was made of carbon in 1772. Carbon gets its name from the Latin word "carbo" meaning charcoal or coal.
It also has the highest thermal conductivity of any element. Graphite, on the other hand, is one of the softest materials and is black-gray in color. Amorphous carbon is generally black and is used to describe coal and soot.Asked by: William Baker Carbon 14 (C14) is an isotope of carbon with 8 neutrons instead of the more common 6 neutrons.It is unstable, and scientists know that it radioactively decays by electron emission to Nitrogen 14, with a half life of 5730 years.Signals of this kind are often used by chemists studying natural environments.A hydrocarbon found in beach sediments, for example, might derive from an oil spill or from waxes produced by plants.