Carbon is made up of 6 protons, 6 neutrons and 6 electrons

Carbon is an essential to every organic matter, or simply said every organic matter contains carbon. The name of this nonmetallic element comes from the Latin word carbo meaning “charcoal” (referring to carbon’s charcoal like properties). Carbon was discovered as early as the prehistoric era, also discovering that carbon is a very abundant throughout the world – 4th most abundant element in the universe in terms of mass (found in comets, stars and in the atmosphere of planets), and the 15th most abundant element on the earth’s surface.

There are three allotropic form of carbons found freely in nature: diamond, graphite and fullerenes. Among the three, diamond is known as the hardest, while ceraphite, a type of graphite is known as the softest type. A chemical property of carbon varies greatly based on allotropic. These differences in chemical properties are because of the subatomic particles carbon is made up of.

Components of Carbon Atom

Same with the other elements, components or carbon atom are the electrons, protons and neutrons. A single carbon atom consists of 6 protons (atomic no.) and 6 neutrons in its nucleus. There are also 6 electrons circling outside the nucleus, which determines the reactivity of carbon atom with other elements. Carbon also has a huge number of compounds formed with other elements. Combined with hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen gases, carbon can create vast number of carbon compounds reaching around million of compounds – thousands of which are essential to the life processes.

Changes in the components of carbon atom such as not balance number of protons and neutrons etc. could also affect the overall structure and properties of carbon atom – also called isotopes. Carbon has three known isotopes: carbon-12 which is the most abundant among the stable isotopes of carbon and comprises 99% of all carbon found (made up of 6 neutrons, 6 protons and 6 electrons); carbon-13 which makes 1% of all carbon found on earth; and carbon-14 (6 protons and 8 neutrons in the nucleus) also called the radiocarbon used for process called carbon dating.

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