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Carbon (C), nonmetallic chemical element in Group 14 (IVa) of the periodic table.Although widely distributed in nature, carbon is not particularly plentiful—it makes up only about 0.025 percent of Earth’s crust—yet it forms more compounds than all the other elements combined.
Isolated finds around the world in regions where no sources are indicated have not been uncommon.
Natural deposits are worked by crushing, by gravity and flotation separations, and by removal of diamonds by their adherence to a layer of grease on a suitable table.
The following products result: (1) diamond proper—distorted cubic crystalline gem-quality stones varying from colourless to red, pink, blue, green, or yellow; (2) bort—minute dark crystals of abrasive but not gem quality; (3) ballas—randomly oriented crystals of abrasive quality; (4) macles—triangular pillow-shaped crystals that are industrially useful; and (5) carbonado—mixed diamond–graphite crystallites containing other impurities.
Modern carbon chemistry dates from the development of coals, petroleum, and natural gas as fuels and from the elucidation of synthetic organic chemistry, both substantially developed since the 1800s.buckerminsterfullerenes, or “buckyballs,” and cylindrical fullerenes are called nanotubes.
A fourth form, called Q-carbon, is crystalline and magnetic.