Atomic Number: 6 Period Number: 2 Group Number: 14
Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the earth's crust. It has been known from ancient times.There are three allotropes of carbon are known in nature: amorphous, graphite and diamond. And carbon has two known isotopes until now: the isotope carbon -12 forms 98.93% and carbon -13 forms the remaining 1.07%.
Graphite has a layered structure and it is one of the softest materials known in the world. Naturally occurring graphite occurs in two forms, alpha and beta. Primarily it is used as lubricants and now it has been widely used for making batteries, steel-making, expended graphite, pencils and refractories. Diamond is one of the hardest materials known until now. Some of the diamond are from natural directly, but most of them are artificially produced. The small diamonds are made by squeezing graphite under high temperatures and pressures.
There are millions of carbon compounds and carbon is the key element to form the organic compounds. This is because carbon can form long-chain of C-C bonds and it is very stable and strong. This will make foundation for the organic compounds forming. Many carbon compounds are essential for life as we know it. Some of the most common carbon compounds are: carbon dioxide (CO2), carbonmonoxide (CO), carbon disulfide (CS2), chloroform (CHCl3), carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), methane (CH4), ethylene (C2H4), acetylene (C2H2), benzene (C6H6), ethyl alcohol (C2H5OH) and acetic acid (CH3COOH).
Physical and Chemical properties:
Atomic Weight: 12.0107
Melting Point: 3823 K
Boiling Point: 4098 K
Density: 2.2670 g/cm3
Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
Ionization Energy: 11.260 eV
Oxidation States: +4, +2, -4
Wikipedia - Basics on Carbon
WebElements - The basic elements of Carbon
Jefferson Lab - Learning about Carbon