- Carbon is one of three important elements that compose plants. The higher photosynthetic organisms need light, carbon dioxide, and water and these raw materials supply the carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen that are the predominant elements in the organic molecules they manufacture, as well as the energy needed to drive the synthetic reactions.
|Abstract from DBPedia||
Carbon (from Latin: carbo "coal") is a chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. On the periodic table, it is the first (row 2) of six elements in column (group 14), which have in common the composition of their outer electron shell. It is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds. Three isotopes occur naturally, 12C and 13C being stable while 14C is radioactive, decaying with a half-life of about 5,730 years. Carbon is one of the few elements known since antiquity. Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth's crust, and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. Carbon's abundance, its unique diversity of organic compounds, and its unusual ability to form polymers at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth enables this element to serve as a common element of all known life. It is the second most abundant element in the human body by mass (about 18.5%) after oxygen. The atoms of carbon can be bonded together in different ways, termed allotropes of carbon. The best known are graphite, diamond, and amorphous carbon. The physical properties of carbon vary widely with the allotropic form. For example, graphite is opaque and black while diamond is highly transparent. Graphite is soft enough to form a streak on paper (hence its name, from the Greek verb "γράφειν" which means "to write"), while diamond is the hardest naturally-occurring material known. Graphite is a good electrical conductor while diamond has a low electrical conductivity. Under normal conditions, diamond, carbon nanotubes, and graphene have the highest thermal conductivities of all known materials. All carbon allotropes are solids under normal conditions, with graphite being the most thermodynamically stable form. They are chemically resistant and require high temperature to react even with oxygen. The most common oxidation state of carbon in inorganic compounds is +4, while +2 is found in carbon monoxide and transition metal carbonyl complexes. The largest sources of inorganic carbon are limestones, dolomites and carbon dioxide, but significant quantities occur in organic deposits of coal, peat, oil, and methane clathrates. Carbon forms a vast number of compounds, more than any other element, with almost ten million compounds described to date, and yet that number is but a fraction of the number of theoretically possible compounds under standard conditions.
炭素（たんそ、カーボン、英: carbon、羅: carbonium）は、原子番号 6、原子量 12.01 の元素で、元素記号は C である。 非金属元素であり、周期表では第14族元素（炭素族元素）および第2周期元素に属する。単体・化合物両方において極めて多様な形状をとることができる。 炭素-炭素結合で有機物の基本骨格をつくり、全ての生物の構成材料となる。人体の乾燥重量の2/3は炭素である。これは蛋白質、脂質、炭水化物に含まれる原子の過半数が炭素であることによる。光合成や呼吸など生命活動全般で重要な役割を担う。また、石油・石炭・天然ガスなどのエネルギー・原料として、あるいは二酸化炭素やメタンによる地球温暖化問題など、人間の活動と密接に関わる元素である。 英語の carbon は、1787年にフランスの化学者トモルボーが「木炭」を指すラテン語 carbo から名づけたフランス語の carbone が転じた。ドイツ語の Kohlenstoff も「炭の物質」を意味する。日本語の「炭素」という語は宇田川榕菴が著作『舎密開宗』にて用いたのがはじめとされる。