Life as we know it would not exist without carbon. Carbon is the main component of sugars, proteins, fats, DNA, muscle tissue, pretty much everything in your body.
The methane molecule (CH4
) consists of one carbon (C) and four hydrogen (H) atoms.
Carbon is a very versatile and safe material. Researchers find new applications for pure carbon all the time.
Many giant steps in technological development use pure carbon in novel ways.
Pure carbon has several allotropes, or forms, which arise from the different ways the atoms may be bonded together. For instance, both graphite and diamonds consist only of pure carbon, but graphite is one of the world’s softest materials and diamond is one of the hardest.
This difference is caused by their distinct crystal structures. The wide range of allotropes makes pure carbon useful for many different purposes.
Some of the forms of carbon are:
- carbon nanotubes
- black carbon
- active carbon
Certain allotropes are of growing importance for batteries. Different forms of carbon can be used for efficient and precise sensors, faster and efficient electronics, flexible displays, efficient solar panels, faster DNA sequencing, and drug delivery, to name but a few examples.
Pure carbon can also be used for products such as conveyor belts, roll coverings, tubes, profiles, seals, cables, moldings, and roofing foils.
Pure carbon is utilized in
- methane and hydrogen storage
- air purification
- solvent recovery
- gold purification
- metal extraction
- water purification
- sewage treatment
- air filters in gas masks and respirators
- filters in compressed air
- teeth whitening
- production of hydrogen chloride in dark
- many other applications