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             Carbon is found in many different compounds. It is in the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the cosmetics you use, and the gasoline that fuels your car. Carbon is a special element because it plays a dominant role in the chemistry of life. Carbon makes up 0.03% of earth’s crust, yet without it, life would be impossible. Although the discoverer and location of the discovery is unknown, carbon has dated back to the ancients. Carbon has an atomic number of 6 and a mass of 12. It is located in group fourteen and period two, and is a nonmetal. Carbon’s name can be translated into eleven languages. Carbon has 13 known isotopes that have from 2-14 neutrons in the nucleus and mass numbers from 8-20. Carbon has a hexagonal crystal structure, and an electron configuration of 1s 2s p . Carbon has a Latin origin of “Carbo”. Carbon can be made by burning organic compounds with insufficient oxygen.
             The element carbon has four electrons in its outer shell. Since the outer shell can hold eight electrons, each carbon atom can share electrons with up to four different atoms. Carbon can combine with itself as well as other elements. This allows carbon to form many different compounds of varying shape and size. .
             Three naturally occurring forms of carbon are known to exist: amorphous, graphite, and diamond. Amorphous carbon is formed when a material containing carbon is burned without enough oxygen for it to burn completely. This black soot know as lampblack, gas black, channel black or carbon black, is used to make inks, rubber products and paints. It can also be pressed into shapes used to form the cores of most dry cell batteries, as well as other things.
             Graphite, one of the softest materials known, is a form of carbon that is mainly used as a lubricant. Although it does occur naturally, most graphite is treated with petroleum coke, a black tar residue remaining after the refinement of crude oil, in an oxygen-free oven.