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Carbon, symbol "C", is an amazingly important and well-used element on earth, it's pretty much the basis of all life and energy storage and.. Yeah pretty much everything earth-like. It has six of everything, protons neutron electrons, but the number of electrons gives it 4 open slots, which opens alot of options for atomic relationships.

Most people, when someone says "Carbon", might think of a dull, black, powdery.. Stuff, with no structure and no apparent use, but carbon can also be graphite, which is carbon bonding with itself to form somewhat random strings of carbon that are far more solid, which comes out as a fairly strong, solid black material that conducts electricity well and is so extremely heat proof it's used on the inside walls of nuclear reactors.

But as amorphous(non-structured) carbon is to graphite, graphite is to diamond, which is carbon atoms linked to each other once again, but this time in perfectly even, organized lines which are near impossible to break apart and show excellent heat transfer(you computer probably has a aluminum heat sink on the chip to keep it cool, it would work many times better if it was diamond.. But this may be more costly than most are willing to even dream of)

Carbon comes mostly from coal seams, which tend to be made of old plant matter decayed and compacted so long they've lost everything but the carbon, and it's many uses include fuel(known as "coal"), various chemical uses(such as turning metal ores into pure metals), billions of organic uses(such as "life, the universe, and everything") and a few structural and heat-resistant uses.

These are my samples!

Carbon-Zinc Batteries

These are somewhat old-fashioned AA batteries, which unusually enough say right on the front "Carbon Zinc". The carbon and zinc are chemically different, so any acid or base you put between them will slowly oxidize one, and make a voltage. In this case I believe the base is potassium hydroxide, the middle electrode is a carbon rod, and the case is zinc. This concept is further explained here, you can build your own batteries!

Date added(year-month-day):20120229, sample number:97

Tags(Elements in sample):carbon, zinc

Smaller Carbon Filament Lightbulb

This is an unusually small bulb to have a carbon filament, but judging by the shape/curve of the filament, I'm pretty sure it's carbon.

Picked this one up at a local flea market, new in the box after probably 60 years.

Date added(year-month-day):20120229, sample number:96

Tags(Elements in sample):carbon, vacuum

Graphite Lubricant

Apparently graphite powder makes an excellent dry lubricant, useful in uses such as locks or other large mechanics. This tube clearly states it's for use in locks, I'm not sure what other situations use this though.

Date added(year-month-day):20111018, sample number:83

Tags(Elements in sample):carbon


These are large chunks of graphite, which is a semi-crystaline alotrope of pure carbon, useful because it doesn't react to heat until it hits 5000 degrees, after which it vaporizes. I don't know what these chunks where used for, but I used the biggest one to carve out an ingot mold so I could cast metal bars in it. Cool stuff.

Date added(year-month-day):20111018, sample number:82

Tags(Elements in sample):carbon


This is a construction crayon, used for marking things that need to be cut/aligned/anything else, interesting to me simply because it mentions the element carbon. Most black inks come from carbon, charcoal dust is black as night, cheap, and easy to get, most likely this crayon is carbon dust mixed with some sort of hard wax.

Date added(year-month-day):20110906, sample number:61

Tags(Elements in sample):carbon

Carbon Filament

This unusual little light bulb was purchased at a local flea market like most my samples, and is very unusual because the filament, or little wire that glows red hot, is made out of a carbon fiber instead of a tungsten wire. It doesn't look too old, but carbon filaments haven't been used in a very long time, so I'd guess this is 60+ years old.

Date added(year-month-day):20110822, sample number:55

Tags(Elements in sample):carbon, vacuum

Graphite Rods

These are small cracked-off pieces of graphite rod used in slightly older zinc-carbon batteries(And larger modern batteries, like those big square 6-volt ones) I have much larger nicer rods of carbon than these, but they wouldn't fit in a jar so nicely, and most likely they'd smudge up my white background worse than I can imagine as graphite is what makes pencils draw.

Date added(year-month-day):20110719, sample number:5

Tags(Elements in sample):carbon

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