It’s a hot summer day outside, the pollen’s in the air, you can smell the freshly cut grass and the clouds above provide a slight relief from the hot temperature. It’s a popular time of the year, the children are no longer in school and people are generally just less busy, so you decide that you’re might just want to have a cook out, so you pop open the grill, pull out a bag of activated carbon, grab your tonsils and begin placing coal into the grill pan, but just as you do a thought runs upon your mind. You look at the bag from which you pulled your charcoal from and see the label says “activated carbon”. What is carbon?”, you ask yourself. You learned in school maybe that charcoal is fossilized plants, but you never asked what carbon was. So, what exactly is carbon? Much like hydrogen and oxygen, carbon is a well-known chemical element; in fact it is the most abundant chemical element in the universe. Diamonds, dinosaur and ancient plant fossils and yes, even your own body all consist of carbon atoms. The human body is made up of up to 20% carbon and plants are made up of up to 50% carbon. Carbon is also the chemical element that actually forms more other chemicals than each other chemical combine. Carbon is an incredibly important to how we live. Charcoal contains pure carbon and it is made through a process of burning plants at extremely high temperatures to get rid of the moisture other chemical elements that are left. This leftover dead plant consists mainly of carbon which gives it black powdery texture and it used for many things. One of the more odd things is that charcoal is actually being used for ice cream and toothpaste. It is a mostly safe and edible. Carbon is an important staple hold of the world we live in, it powers just about every vehicle and has many other purposes as long as humans exist so too will carbon exist and continue to assist us into the future.

Understanding the Properties and Uses of Carbon