Carbon: Why It is Important in Daily Life


The name carbon probably derives from the Latin word ‘’carbo’’ meaning charcoal, ember, or coal. It is a non-metallic element. It is 4th most abundant element in the universe. It was discovered by a person who handled charcoal in the fire.

It is non-metallic and belongs to group 14 of the periodic table. The concentration of it in the earth’s crust is 0.025, although it is used to make plenty of things. It has three isotopes:

Carbon-12, Carbon-13, and Carbon-14.

Carbon-14 is radioactive and used in radiolabeling.

Allotropes of Carbon

There are three allotropes. Diamond, graphite, and fullerenes (nanotubes and Buckyballs) all are crystalline. Another magnetic and crystalline form is called Q-carbon.


Diamonds are formed when it bonds together to form the crystals under high pressure and temperature and pressure. Here one carbon is bonded with four other carbons. Its geometry is tetrahedral and forms the four covalent bonds. Its hybridization is sp3. Billions and billions of carbon join together and are locked to form diamond crystals. It is why diamond is the hardest naturally occurring material known as a poor conductor of electricity. Diamond is the most expensive gemstone.


Graphite is also known as Plumbago or black lead. It is sp2 Hybridized. It forms a layered structure in which 6 carbon atoms arranged themselves in horizontal sheets. Its geometry is hexagonal. It is a good conductor of electricity. The most common use of graphite is in a lead pencil.


Fullerene is formed by a single and double bond connection between carbon atoms. Fullerene looked like a cage where carbon rings fused into each other. The fullerene has pentagonal and heptagonal rings, which do not allow the carbon sheets to be a planner. The types of fullerenes include C60, C70, C80, and C90. The change in the structure of fullerenes depends upon temperature. As the temperature changes, C60 is converted to C70. It has the characteristics of ferromagnetic materials. Fullerenes are considered important because of their several application in medicine. It is used for drug delivery and MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging)

Source of Carbon

From where can we get it? There are several sources from which we can get it.

  • Burning of fossil fuels
  • Oil and Coal
  • Volcanic eruptions and deforestation
  • The upper mantle of the earth

Biological Importance

Around us, it is everywhere, from the paper of a book to its ink, all made from It. All colourful dye and synthetic fibres, every bite of your meal, your floor’s carpet, diamond rings, lead pencils, natural gas, gasoline oil, drugs like aspirin, nicotine, caffeine, grocery bags, and furniture all are made up of carbon. In short, we all are surrounded by carbon atoms. It is necessary for life on earth to exist. It also has great importance in biology because it’s impossible to live without carbon.

Sugar (carbohydrates) is formed from carbon. Cells are made up of complex molecules like nucleic acid (DNA, RNA), lipids, and proteins. Synthesis of these complex compounds is done by utilizing the energy stored in the photosynthesis process. It is called anabolism. Catabolism (energy release) is used for oxidative destruction of carbon dioxide and water.

This synthesis and destruction involve carbon dioxide, the biological carbon cycle. The presence of carbon also tells whether something is organic in nature or inorganic.

Carbon in Cosmetics

It is used in cosmetics in the form of activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is a prominent component in the beauty industry due to its purifying properties. It is used to prepare a face mask that draws out the oil and dust from the skin. Over the day, we face harmful UV, cigarette smoke, and severe temperature, making our skin super sensitive.

Over time these contaminants accumulate in the skin, which clogs the pores. Charcoal reduces the size of pores. The outer layer of skin is called the epidermis; pollutants seep into that layer. Charcoal, a great purifier, absorbs all pollution, toxic chemicals, and oil from the skin. A charcoal face mask is very effective. You should use it twice a week.

Activated charcoal is also utilized for hair care products. All shampoo has some amount of activated charcoal. Here activated charcoal act like a magnet, which attracts all dirt and oil from hair. Another use of activated charcoal is that it can whiten your teeth. It acts as an adsorbent and absorbs all the plaque from teeth.

Global Carbon Cycle

It is the key to life. You’ve probably heard this phrase before, but have you given it any thought? As described above, all compounds necessary to live, like fats, proteins, starches, and sugar, are all formed of carbon.

This cycle has significant importance in the ecosystem because it is a life existence ingredient that travels from the atmosphere and oceans into the organism and goes back to the atmosphere and ocean.

There are two types of the global carbon cycle. The fast one exchange rapidly among the atmosphere, ocean, and biospheres. The second type is the slow carbon cycle which explains the exchange with geological reservoirs like rocks, deep soils, and deeper oceans.

Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier discover it. 

Steps of Global Carbon Cycle:

  • Movement from the atmosphere to Plants
  • Movement from plants to animals
  • Transfer  from animals and plants to the ground
  • Transfer  from living things to the atmosphere
  • Movement  from fossil fuels to the atmosphere
  • Movement  from the atmosphere to the ocean
  • Movement  from the atmosphere to Plants:

This process is named photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a process in which a plant takes the CO2 from the atmosphere and reacts with H2O in the presence of sunlight to give glucose.

  • Movement  from Plants to animals:

As we observe the food chain, animals get CO2 from plants. Because plants are producers and animals are herbivores, carnivores, and consumers. Organism eats animals and makes it part of their body. These organisms produce CO2 from cellular respiration.

  • Transfer from animal and plant to the ground:

When animals and plants die, their bodies decompose and return to the atmosphere.

  • Transfer from living things to the atmosphere:

It is transferred to the atmosphere when we exhale, and we breathe out CO2 in the atmosphere. This process is called respiration.

  • Movement  from fossil fuels to the atmosphere:

When human burns fossil fuel in factories, power plants, cars, and trucks, CO2 gas evolves and pollutes the air.

  • Movement  from the atmosphere to the ocean:

The ocean takes CO2 from photosynthesis by the marine plant known as phytoplankton. This cycle includes the ocean, which is essential. It is known as a sink for CO2 because it dissolves more CO2 and releases less CO2 in the atmosphere.

Final Verdict

 The carbon cycle plays an important role in climate change as it is one of the important greenhouse gas. CO2 inhibits the heat from departing the earth. As a result, more CO2 will be present in the atmosphere and more heat entrapped, so the atmosphere’s temperature will rise.

Imbalance in the global carbon cycle produces global warming and climate disruption. while it also helps all living beings to grow, reproduce and grow. The human body is almost 20% carbon by weight. 

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