Carbon (from Latin: carbo “coal”) is one of the few chemical elements known since antiquity and the 6th most common element on Earth. Its symbol is C, and its atomic number is 6. (Atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom of that element.)
Carbon has several allotropes or forms, with varying physical properties, including:
- Diamond: highly transparent; has a very low electrical conductivity; and the hardest naturally-occurring material known.
- Graphite: opaque and black; a very good conductor; and soft enough to form a streak on paper (hence its name, from the Greek word “γράφω” which means “to write”).
Graphene is a very thin, one-atom thick, nearly transparent sheet of graphite. It is stronger than diamond, more conductive than copper, and more flexible than rubber.
Get used to the word “graphene” because it will revolutionize our world!