Carbon is the fourth most common element in our universe, and the second most common element found in our bodies. Carbon comes in the form of simple coal, or in the dazzling beauty of a diamond. This element is found in the graphite of your pencil, which is soft enough to make a reliable streak on your paper, while the diamond is one of the hardest materials on earth. Carbon is a non-metal that can bond with its self and many other chemical elements, forming nearly ten million compounds. This element has a seemingly endless amount of uses. In fact humans exhale carbon dioxide; we are constantly exposed to carbon. James Jeans once said that “Life exists in the universe only because the carbon atom possesses certain exceptional properties.” Carbon is abundant in our stars, in our own sun and in every living thing we know today. Some meteorites contain microscopic diamonds that were formed when the solar system was still a protoplanetary disk. Microscopic diamonds may also be formed by the intense pressure and high temperature at the sites of meteorite impacts.
Another fascinating fact about carbon versatility the different forms pure carbon come in. The properties of some chemical elements to exist in two or more different molecular forms are known as allotropes. Allotropes are different structural modifications of an element. For example, carbon has three well known allotropes such as a diamond, where the carbon atoms are bonded together in a tetrahedral lattice arrangement. Another allotrope that we use every day is graphite, where the carbon atoms are bonded together in sheets of a hexagonal lattice, and fullerenes, where the carbon atoms are bonded together in spherical, tubular, or ellipsoidal formations. Amorphous carbon is formed when a material containing carbon is burned without enough oxygen for it to burn completely. This black soot, also known as lampblack, gas black, channel black or carbon black, is used to make inks, paints and rubber products. It can also be pressed into shapes and is used to form the cores of most dry cell batteries, among other things. A fourth allotrope of carbon, known as white carbon, was produced in 1969. It is a transparent material that can split a single beam of light into two beams, a property known as birefringence. Very little is known about this form of carbon.
New tests of carbon nanotubes, which are tiny cylinders expected to revolutionize medicine, electronics, and warfare. More tests reveal that, ounce for ounce, they are 117 times stronger than steel and 30 times stronger than Kevlar used in bulletproof vests. The nanotubes, roughly 50,000 of which add up to the width of an average strand of human hair, are already known for their strength based on earlier tests on Kevlar-coated multiwalled carbon nanotubes.
Another example of the carbon nanotubes that are very prevalent in today’s world of medical research and is being highly researched in the fields of efficient drug delivery and biosensing methods for disease treatment and health monitoring. Recent discoveries in carbon nanotube technology have shown the potential to alter drug delivery and bio-sensing methods for the better, thus, carbon nanotubes have
recently garnered interest in the field of medicine.
So why does carbon seem to have such a bad rap today in our culture? There aren’t any toxic effects that appear to be associated with carbon in its elemental form to humans. On the other hand, many of the more common carbon compounds exhibit strong toxicological effects, such as inhaling coal dust for extended periods of time. Unless you are a coal miner it should not feel like such a threat. Yet our media cannot quit saying this word. Whenever you check the latest news on the element carbon on Google, many of the articles and blogs that you will find are articles about the high amounts of carbon in our atmosphere, how big a country’s “carbon footprint” is or how to minimize your own carbon footprint. There are two parts to a carbon footprint. There is the “primary footprint” and the “secondary footprint”. The primary footprint is our direct use of fossil fuels, such as when you use your car or ride in an airplane. The secondary footprint is a measure of the indirect CO2 emissions from the whole life cycle of products we use. However, in the news and other media outlets, this phenomena is always referred to as a “carbon footprint” despite where the pollution maybe coming from. Why has this suddenly become a reoccurring trend word in Google search and in our daily news? Wanting to save the earth is trendy.
Global Warming is the name of the theory of the phenomena that is the world heating up due to the greenhouse effect and excess amounts of greenhouse gas produced by humans. Information of the global temperature rising over the past twenty years is abundant and shows evidence of global warming's possibility. Global surface temperatures have increased about .74 degrees since the late 19th century, and in the past.
50 years the temperature has risen .13 degrees. Seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 and the 10 warmest years in history -have occurred since 1995. Pre-industrial levels of carbon dioxide (prior to the start of the Industrial Revolution) were about 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv), and current levels are greater than 380 ppmv and increasing at a rate of 1.9 parts per million per year since 2000. The global concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere today far exceeds the natural range over the last 650,000 years of 180 to 300 ppmv.
It's one of the earth’s most natural processes, but it is being possibly enhanced by human emission of greenhouse gasses through fossil fuel combustion and deforestation. The combustion of burning coal, oil and gas produce carbon dioxide which floats into our atmosphere and is creating an atmospheric blanket around the world. This seemly harmless warming up of the world’s temperature could be absolutely devastating to human existence. The Arctic is feeling the effects of global warming the most. Average temperatures in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia have risen at twice the global average, according to the multinational Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report compiled between 2000 and 2004. Glaciers and mountain snows are rapidly melting, for example, Montana's Glacier National Park now has only 27 glaciers, versus 150 in 1910. Coral reefs, which are highly sensitive to small changes in water temperature, suffered the worst bleaching ever recorded in 1998, with some areas seeing bleach rates of 70 percent. Experts expect these sorts of events to increase in frequency and intensity in the next 50 years as sea temperatures rise. However as Carl Sagan once said, “The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.” Carbon has an endless array of uses, whether it is saving the world, or being used to destroy it.
Tell me if you use my essay, it would make my day.