Carbon 12 and carbon 14 dating
It occurs in more different forms than any other element in the periodic table.The periodic table is a chart that shows how chemical elements are related to each other.In 1787, four French chemists wrote a book outlining a method for naming chemical substances.The name they used, carbone, is based on the earlier Latin term for charcoal, charbon. Allotropes are forms of an element with different physical and chemical properties.
Another highly important and very unusual property of carbon is its ability to form long chains.Carbon allotropes that lack crystalline structure are amorphous, or without crystalline shape.The allotropes of carbon have very different chemical and physical properties. Graphite does not melt when heated, but sublimes at about 3,650°C (6.600°F).Carbon also occurs in a form, discovered only recently, known as fullerenes or buckyballs.Buckyball carbon holds the promise for opening a whole new field of chemistry (see accompanying sidebar).
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Carbon occurs extensively in all living organisms as proteins, fats, carbohydrates (sugars and starches), and nucleic acids.