• Written By Ankita Sahay
  • Last Modified 25-01-2023

Uses of Carbon: Properties and Importance


Uses of Carbon: Uses of carbon by man have had diverse reasons since the dawn of time, and it is a plentiful element in the Earth’s crust. The atomic number of carbon is 6 and belongs to Periodic Table group 14. Because of its tetravalency, carbon possesses a unique self-linking property known as ‘catenation.’ Catenation transforms carbon into a range of organic compounds. 

Coal, charcoal, and their allotropic form (diamond, graphite, and fullerene) are all examples of carbon in nature. These carbon forms are utilised to make a variety of things that we use every day. The human body, for example, contains significant amounts of carbon. Food, plants, timber, fossil fuels, methane gas, and petroleum products all contain it. Read more to learn about the uses of carbon, carbon melting point, and more.

Several different forms of carbon are also used in multiple fields. For example, carbon fibres are used to make tennis rackets, fishing rods, and aeronautical devices, carbon black is used for cutting and drilling rocks, and diamonds are used in cutting and drilling rocks. Coal is the main source of energy used in thermal power plants.

Uses of Carbon: Atomic Number of Carbon, Carbon Melting Point

To put it another way, we can say that our lives are “carbon-based.” Almost all biological compounds have it as their backbone. Carbon is extremely useful in all areas of Science, including chemical, physical, and biological research. The various uses of carbon are listed below:

  1. About 18% of the human body is made up of carbon as they behave as building blocks of our body in the form of hydrocarbons. Our skin, cells, hair all are made up of carbon. They form carbohydrates which provide us energy.
  2. Carbon dioxide is one of the most important gases present in the atmosphere. We release carbon dioxide during respiration and plants inhale it that maintains a complete balance in the form of the carbon cycle in all biological systems and play the most important role in their survival.
  3. Carbon is present widely in fossil fuels like coal and other organic compounds such as petroleum, natural gas,etc.
  4. Allotropes of carbon are used for various purposes. Like, diamond is used for making tools for cutting or drilling, they are widely used in making jewellery. Graphite is used in making electrical appliances, pencil leads, etc., and fullerene is used as photosensitizers and drug delivery agents in the body.
  5. Various synthetic compounds such as carbon rubbers, shoe soles, tires of vehicles, etc. are made up of carbon. Coal tar is a form of carbon itself that is used in making roads.
Uses of Carbon

Carbon Element


Carbon is an abundant element in nature. It has some unique properties that help it to form various substances. Carbon also forms strong covalent bonds. The various properties of carbon are listed below:

Chemical SymbolC
Atomic Mass\(12.0107{\rm{u}}\)
Atomic Number\(6\)
Electronic Configuration\([{\rm{He}}]2\;{{\rm{s}}^2}2{{\rm{p}}^2}\)
Melting Point\(3,{550^ \circ }{\rm{C}}\left( {6,{{420}^ \circ }{\rm{F}}} \right)\)
Boiling Point\(4,{827^ \circ }{\rm{C}}\left( {8,{{721}^ \circ }{\rm{F}}} \right)\)
AllotropesDiamond, Graphite, and Fullerene

Allotropes of Carbon: The Structure of Graphite, Diamonds

Forms of elements that exist in more than one crystalline form are known as allotropes. Carbon exists in three allotropic forms. The main three allotropes of carbon are diamond, graphite, and fullerene. Though they all are made up of carbon all have different properties. Diamond is one of the hardest naturally occurring substances. They are transparent, abrasive, thermal conductors, and electrical insulators. On the other hand, graphite is one of the softest substances. Unlike diamond, graphite is opaque, a good lubricant, a good conductor of electricity, and a thermal insulator. Other than diamond and graphite, allotropes of carbon include buckminsterfullerene (fullerenes), amorphous carbon, carbon nanotubes, and others.

Allotropes of Carbon

Uses of Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is an important greenhouse gas that keeps the earth warm by trapping heat energy from the sun in our atmosphere. Different uses of \({\rm{C}}{{\rm{O}}_{\rm{2}}}\) are:

Carbon Dioxide

1. In respiration: Carbon dioxide is exhaled by human beings and animals during breathing. This \({\rm{C}}{{\rm{O}}_{\rm{2}}}\) is taken up by plants during photosynthesis, and in this manner, the carbon cycle is maintained in the ecosystem.

2. In Food Industry: Carbonated beverages are widely used in food industries.

3. In Fire Extinguishers: Carbon dioxide is used in fire extinguishers. They work by displacing oxygen in the area that has caught fire. 

Carbon Dioxide Uses

4. Other uses of carbon dioxide are in making fuels, polymers, fertilizers, proteins, etc.

Uses of Carbon Fibre

Uses of Carbon Fibre

Carbon fiber, also known as graphite fiber is a strong, stiff, and lightweight material that is popularly used in high-performance as well as specialized products like:
1. Aircraft and race cars.
2. Sports equipment such as tennis rackets, softball bats, hockey sticks, and archery arrows, golf clubs and bows, etc. Carbon fiber is a lighter-weight substance and based on strength, has the potential to replace steel. This special property is an advantage for using carbon fibers in such areas.

Uses of Carbon Black

Carbon black

Carbon black is a black pigment that is traditionally produced by charring organic materials such as wood. Various uses of black carbon are:

  • 1. Strengthening rubber in tire industries.
  • 2. It can also act as a pigment, UV stabilizer. 
  • 3. It is also used as a conductive or insulating agent in a variety of rubber, ink, plastic, and coating applications.
  • 4. It is used in making non-tire rubbers.
  • 5. Construction and metallurgical processes.
  • 6. Graphite manufacturing.

Uses of Carbon Nanotubes

Carbon Nanotubes

Cylindrical molecules of rolled-up sheets of single-layer carbon atoms (graphene) are known as carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Uses of CNTs are:

  • 1. Brushes for electric motors are made up of carbon nanotubes.
  • 2. Optics
  • 3. In carbon nanotubes field emission.
  • 4. Energy storage.
  • 5. They impart electrical conductivity in plastics.
  • 6. They are widely used in nanotechnology engineering.

Uses of Carbon Monoxide

Though carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, still it is used in some areas such as:

1. Carbon monoxide acts as a reducing agent in the conversion of the naturally occurring metal oxides to pure metal.
2. It is used in the manufacture of a variety of chemicals such as alcohols, acids, esters, etc.

Carbon Monoxide

Uses of Carbonic Acid

Carbonic acid is a dibasic acid with the chemical formula \({{\rm{H}}_2}{\rm{C}}{{\rm{O}}_3}\). Some of its uses are mentioned below:

1. They are used in the preparation of beverages like carbonated water, sparkling wine, and other aerated.

Carbonic Acid Uses

2. \({{\rm{H}}_2}{\rm{C}}{{\rm{O}}_3}\) is used in the precipitation of many ammonium salts.

3. It helps in the transportation of carbon dioxide out of the body as it plays an important role in the bicarbonate buffer system, which is used to maintain acid-base homeostasis.

Uses of Carbon Compounds


There are countless compounds that are made up of carbon. Some of the uses of carbon compounds are listed below:

  1. About \(18\% \) of the human body is made up of carbon as they behave as building blocks of our body in the form of hydrocarbons. Our skins, cells, hair all are made up of carbon.
  2. Carbohydrates such as sugar, glucose, fructose, maltose, etc. are the compounds of carbon that provide us energy.
  3. Phenol is a very important carbon compound used in laboratories and industries.
  4. Carboxylic acids, alcohols, and ester compounds are used for making vinegar, alcoholic beverages, and perfumes respectively.
  5. Fossil fuels like coal and petroleum are carbon compounds only and they are used in various fields like power plants, automobiles, other industries.


In a nutshell, Carbon is a very unique and interesting element. It is used in so many places that it cannot be pinned down easily. Carbon is non-metal. It occurs in State as well as in a combined state in nature. It is quite abundant in the earth’s crust. All living creatures are made up of this element.

Carbon forms a huge number of elements with itself (catenation) as well as with other elements. Due to its unique behaviour, a separate field known as ‘organic chemistry’ is introduced to study hydrocarbon compounds. Hence, there are enormous uses of carbon such as in the form of hydrocarbons, organic compounds, carbon black, carbon fibers, nanotubes, fire extinguishers, etc.

Allotropes of carbon are also widely used nowadays such as diamond jewellery; graphite is used as good electrical conductors in electrical appliances, as lubricants, and many more. Thus, we can understand how important this element is for us! Many research works are still going on to unwrap the uses of carbon.

FAQs on Uses of Carbon

Below are the most frequently asked questions on Uses of Carbon:

Q.1: What are the 5 common uses of carbon?
The five uses of carbon are: Human body is made up of carbon as they behave as building blocks of our body in the form of hydrocarbons. Carbon dioxide is one of the most important gases present in the atmosphere. We release carbon dioxide during respiration and plants inhale them. Carbon is present widely in fossil fuels like coal, petroleum, natural gas, etc. Allotropes of carbon are used for various purposes. Like, diamond is used for making tools for cutting or drilling, graphite is used in making electrical appliances, etc., Carbon rubbers; shoe soles, tires of vehicles, etc. are made up of carbon. 

Q.2: Why is carbon important to live?
Carbon is important for life because our body is made up of hydrocarbon compounds. Carbohydrates provide us with energy. Also, we exhale carbon dioxide gas during respiration and plants take in this gas. Thus, without carbon, we can’t survive.

Q.3: How carbon monoxide is formed?
Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is formed by the incomplete combustion of compounds containing carbon.

Q.4:What is carbon made of?
Carbon is a naturally occurring element that is made up of only one kind of atom. They exist in the solid state at room temperature. Coal, charcoal, etc. are some forms of carbon.

Q.5: Is carbon harmful to humans?
: Carbon in its elemental form is non-toxic but some forms of carbon like carbon black when inhaled damage lungs and other respiratory organs. Carbon dioxide exposure causes allergic reactions, headaches, breathlessness, etc. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas and can even be fatal if exposed to large quantities.

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