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Roger Weller, geology instructor

by Blake Gurtler
Physical Geology
Fall 2014

Description: Carbon atom


Carbon exists in several different forms. These forms are referred to as “carbon allotropes” since an allotrope is when an element exists in several structural forms despite being the same element in the same state.  Two of the most well-known allotropes of carbon are diamonds and graphite, both consist of pure carbon the only difference being how the atoms are bonded with each other.


Description: Interesting facts about diamond





When carbon covalently bonds in a tetrahedron shape it results in diamond being formed.  This unique formation of carbon gives its qualities. Diamond is the hardest known natural mineral.  Diamond acts as a good conductor of heat but acts as an insulator for electricity.  Common industrial uses for diamond include drilling and grinding.


Description: File:GraphiteUSGOV.jpg

Graphite is formed by carbon atoms creating a layer of honey comb lattices this arrangement of carbon atoms results in graphite being the most stable form of carbon.  Graphite is much more brittle than diamond and acts as an electrical conductor instead of an insulator.  This has resulted in graphite being used for electrodes and as a dry rub for industrial purposes.



Amorphous carbon is a term used to refer to carbon that does not have a crystalline structure.  Amorphous carbon often has bits of either graphite or diamond in it. Coal is often referred to as amorphous carbon though the process of creating coal is the degradation by heat which does not create true amorphous carbon.

                Buckminster fullerene is the most common form of carbon fullerene molecule. Fullerene refers to a carbon molecule that is spherical, hollow, or tube shaped in nature.  A spherical fullerene is also referred to as a buckyball.  Fullerenes have been a hot topic in science and will most likely continue to be an area of research for some time to come.  Fullerenes are fairly stable but are not completely unreactive as far as chemical reactions go. Fullerenes are semi soluble.


                 Carbon fibers are made by combining many carbon atoms in a crystalline pattern in a small space. The crystallized shape on the atomic level gives the fiber similar characteristics to diamonds in that they fibers are incredibly strong for their small size. The carbon fibers are then usually combined with other materials such as plastics to give the new composite different properties depending on the project.



Work Cited