The Wonders Of Carbon: Products You Get From This Amazing Element

Carbon is a primary element. Every chemistry student knows that. They also know that there are TONS of products made from this simple element. Here are several products made from carbon, either naturally or man-made, and how they are made:

Polycarbonates (a.k.a., Plastics)

Polycarbonate is a fancy way of saying "plastic." Dozens of plastics are made from carbon harvested from the earth. The carbon is black and powdery, and most commonly found near oil wells. (It is how geologists determine if there is a possible underground well nearby.) The carbon is processed in such a way to harvest its pure atoms, then strung together in a chemistry lab to create "polycarbonates," which means "multiple carbons." These strings of carbon atoms reinforce the strength of any material created from them, including plastic. That is what polycarbonate fabrication is all about.


Yes, diamonds are made of carbon. The great thing about this material is that scientists have figured out how to manufacture diamonds by combining strings of carbon atoms together in such a way to create the perfect diamond. The perfect amount of heat and pressure is applied to a ball of carbon in a lab to create a lab-created diamond. Oddly enough, with a slightly different number of carbon atoms and a few other chemical elements mixed in, diamonds would not be diamonds; they would be plastic!


Charcoal for your grill is made from carbon. It is ground, then soaked with a binder, pressed into briquets, and dried. Companies paint the briquets black so that you can tell when the coals are hot enough. Otherwise, the briquets are a medium gray, and it is difficult to tell when to put your meats on the grill because they would be gray throughout the cooking process.

Pencil "Lead"

Did you know that the "lead"  in your pencils is not lead at all? It is carbon. More precisely, it is carbon graphite, a softer form of the harder carbon. Varying degrees of graphite added to carbon create varying hardnesses of the "lead" in your artist's pencils and everyday pencils too. Pencil "lead" has not been real lead for several decades now because of the toxic dangers it poses.

Now That You Know

Now that you know more about carbon, plastics, charcoal, and the many different products created from carbon, you have a better understanding of what you can do with these carbon-based materials. If you need anything made from plastic or the other goods, you know that carbon reinforces the products and makes them incredibly strong. You can rest assured knowing that what you buy will last a long time.