Carbon Facts – Atomic Number 6 – Element Symbol C 2

Carbon is the sixth element of the periodic table. These carbon facts contain chemical and physical data along with general information and history.

Fun Carbon Facts

  • Carbon’s allotrope of graphite is one of the softest materials where diamonds are one of the hardest.
  • Graphite is shiny and black, diamonds are colorless transparent solids and fullerenes and amorphous carbon are both black, soot-like powders.
  • Carbon atoms can form chains and rings and sealed with hydrogen atoms to form compounds called hydrocarbons. These compounds form a very large part of organic chemistry.
  • Carbon is a nonmetal that can form over 10 million different compounds.
  • Carbon has the highest sublimation point of all the elements. Diamonds melt around 3550 ºC and other allotropes sublime at around 3800 ºC.
  • Pure carbon is one of the few elements that exists free in nature.
  • Carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass.
  • 18% of your body weight is carbon.
  • Graphite is used as a thermal insulator. It is also a good conductor of electricity.
  • Carbon-14 is used to date once living matter in a process known as Carbon Dating.


Element cell for Carbon

Carbon Periodic Table Cell

Basic Carbon Facts

Name: Carbon

Atomic Number: 6

Element Symbol: C

Group: 14

Period: 2

Block: p

Element Family: nonmetal

Atomic Mass: [12.0096; 12.0116] IUPAC guidelines. For single value, use 12.011.

Electron Configuration: [He]2s22p(shorthand) or 1s22s22p(full)

Discovery: Carbon has been known about since prehistoric times.

Name Origin: The name carbon comes from the Latin word carbo, meaning charcoal.

Common Allotropes: amorphous, diamond, fullerene, graphene, graphite

Natural Isotopes:

Natural boron is comprised of two stable isotopes and one radioactive isotope.

Carbon-12 is a stable isotope containing 6 neutrons. Approximately 99% of all natural carbon is carbon-12.

Carbon-13 is a stable isotope containing 7 neutrons. Most of the rest of natural carbon is carbon-13.

Carbon-13 is a radioactive isotope containing 8 neutrons. Carbon-14 occurs naturally in trace amounts. It decays by β- decay into 14N with a half-life of 5730 years.

There are 12 known artificial radioisotopes ranging from carbon-8 to carbon-22.

Carbon Graphite (USGS)

Carbon Graphite (USGS)

Physical Data

Graphite: 2.2 g/cm3
Diamond: 3.513 g/cm3

Sublimation Point: 3915 K ​(3642 °C, ​6588 °F)

Triple Point: 4600 K at ​10800 kPa

State at 20ºC: Solid

Heat of Fusion: Graphite: 117 kJ/mol

Molar Heat Capacity:
Graphite: 8.517 J/mol·K
Diamond: 6.155 J/mol·K

Carbon Atom

Electron configuration of a carbon atom.

Atomic Data

Atomic Radius: 1.70 Å

Covalent Radius: sp3: 0.77 Å
sp2: 0.73 Å
sp: 0.69 Å

Van der Waals Radius:  1.70 Å

Electron Affinity: 121.776 kJ/mol

Electronegativity: (Pauling scale): 2.55

1st Ionization Energy: 1086.454 kJ/mol

2nd Ionization Energy: 2352.631 kJ/mol

3rd Ionization Energy: 4620.471 kJ/mol

4th Ionization Energy: 6222.716 kJ/mol

5th Ionization Energy: 37830.648 kJ/mol

6th Ionization Energy: 47277.174 kJ/mol

Common Oxidation States: +4, -4 (common), +3, +2, +1, 0, -1, -2, -3 (uncommon)

Learn more about elements on the periodic table.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.