Carbon Facts



  • The extraordinary hardness of diamonds comes from the incredibly strong tetrahedron (pyramid shape) that carbon atoms form.
  • Pure carbon occurs in four forms: diamond, graphite, amorphous carbon and fullerenes.
  • Fullerenes are made mostly artificially, but all four forms of carbon can be made artificially.
  • Diamond is the world’s hardest natural substance.
  • Natural diamonds were created deep in the Earth billions of years ago. They were formed by huge pressures as the Earth’s crust moved, and then brought nearer the surface by volcanic activity.
  • Graphite is the soft black carbon used in pencils. It is
  • The extraordinary hardness of diamonds comes from the incredibly strong tetrahedron (pyramid shape) that carbon atoms form.
  • The pencil is the most widely used writing instrument in the world. Astronauts use pencils in space because they are not affected by gravity or pressure. soft because it is made from sheets of atoms that slide over each other.
  • Amorphous carbon is the black soot left behind when candles and other objects burn. Fullerenes are big molecules made of 60 or more carbon atoms linked together in a tight cylinder or ball. The first was made in 1985.
  • Fullerenes are named after the architect Buckminster Fuller who designed a geodesic (Earth-shaped) dome.
  • Carbon forms over one million compounds which are the basis of organic chemistry. It does not react chemically at room temperature. Carbon has the chemical formula C and the atomic number 6. Neither diamond nor graphite will melt at normal pressures.