Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Carbon question

Been reading about this element in my encyclopedia this week.

We all know that common graphite and uncommon diamonds are both forms of carbon. Allatropes.

We know that carbon is the building block of life, the carbo- in carbohydrates -- sugars and such.

But I am wondering how "solid" carbon appeared on our planet in the first place, with the Earth never having plunged to the temperatures required to solidify most other gases. Other solidified gases are not found in elemental form on our planet, such as oxygen, only as components. You've got to really cold planets like Jupiter to find them in that form.

And how does a solid, tangible, visible measure of carbon, combine with some other gas to become invisible, such as in carbon dioxide?


...Kat said...
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...Kat said...
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...Kat said...

Open Grove Claudia said...

Um, I think it all has to do with Adam. Oh sorry, I miss spelled Atom. ;)

Have you ever checked out the JPL website? These questions are questions they ponder at JPL in Pasadena.

Lyn said...

Hi ECD, it is lyn here... listen I have chosen you to participate in a meme about why you blog, please go to my lynda's loft site and read all about it... Thanks and enjoy!

chipazoid said...

Sigh, something I can talk about, here I go.

Well, the properties of carbon is such that it's harder for it to go to a liquid or gaseous phase. The energy required for carbon to react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide isn't as high as if it were to go to liquid or gaseous phase.

In the absence of any external atoms present, carbon alone will form the allotropes that you see in day to day.

Also, as crude as it sounds, the reason why atoms react is basically because they bump into each other at the correct speed and the correct alignment so as to cause a reaction. Also, invisible carbon dioxide as you say, is just one carbon atom with two oxygen atoms. It is too small to produce a sizable colour for your retinas to pick up.

eastcoastdweller said...

Thank You all for Your helpful links and comments.

Kat, I will check out that link.

Claudia, what is JPL?

Lyn, if You will give me til this weekend ...

Adena: Thank You. I am utterly an amateur when it comes to science, but an interested amateur.

Open Grove Claudia said...

The Jet Propulsion Lab is a company run by Nasa. They develop, design and manage the creation of all space craft from the Space Shuttle to the ships to Mars. They are a very cool place - no military.

Here's the link:

When the President says, "Manned trip to Mars"? It's JPL that makes it happen.

They also run the absolutely coolest projects - grace tests the total amount of water on the earth, and on and on.

chipazoid said...

Oh ecd, I'm an amateur at just about everything else!