Powerskin - Chapter 5 Carbon: power that stems from nature
No element is more essential to life than carbon.
It is the fourth most abundant element in the universe after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen.
Only carbon has the ability to form long chains of its own atoms (catenation) stable enough to resist chemical attack under ambient conditions. They are the structural basis for many compounds that comprise the living cell. The most important of these is DNA.
Carbon forms numerous and varied compounds with limitless applications. Graphite - used for high temperature crucibles and light arch electrodes. Also used in pencil tips and as a lubricant.
Allotropes of carbon have remarkable electrical, thermal and mechanical properties. Diamond - one of the most well-known allotropes of carbon - is the hardest known natural mineral and is used in drill tips or saw blades, or ground into a powder for use in grinding and polishing applications.