The Allotropes of Carbon

19 February 2019 / Blog

What are Allotropes of Carbon?

Allotropy refers to the ability of an element to exist in different forms, called allotropes. Carbon, (which makes up a significant percentage of the human elemental makeup) has several allotropes.

They include:

  • Graphite. The stuff that pencils are made of!
  • Fullerenes. Also known as buckyballs, fullerenes are an entire set of hollow molecules comprised of carbon that have an exciting potential for use in the nanotechnologies of the future.
  • Diamonds. Arranged differently, the same molecules that form the graphite in your pencil can form a rare gemstone! Diamonds are the most precious Allotrope of carbon.

cremation diamond making

Other Carbon Allotropes

  1. Lonsdaleite – Found in an Arizonan crater, it is believed to be originally graphite. Due to the heat and pressure upon impact, it turned to diamond but kept the crystal structure of graphite.
  2. Fullerenes – Referred to as “buckyballs,”nano-technology is used to combine technology to combine the atoms in this way. Also used in tackling melanoma and other tough cancers.
  3. C540 – Like all fullerenes, C540 is a hollow is a hollow spherical shape created using nanotechnology.
  4. Amorphous Carbon (Coal & soot) – Found containing crystallites of graphite and diamond. It’s so small, it’s often nano size.

Learn more about how synthetic diamonds are made.

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