Allotropy of Carbon


  • Graphite
  • Hexagonal lattice
  • Diamond
  • Rigid lattice
  • Fullerene
  • Charcoal
  • Adsorption

Definition of Allotropy of Carbon

Allotropy is the property of some elements to exist in two or more different forms

More About Allotropy of Carbon

  • Allotropy is different from structural modification of an element. The atoms of the elements are bound differently in different allotropes
  • Carbon has a number of allotropes which are stable in nature. Ex: graphite, diamond, charcoal, coal, coke, fullerenes etc
  • Each one of them has a carbon bonded in a different way
  • In graphite the carbon atoms are bonded in sheets of hexagonal lattice
  • The sheets move over easily which is the reason graphite is used as a lubricant in the automobile industry
  • Graphite can conduct electricity and is used as an electrode in many electrochemical processes. It can conduct electricity due to the vast electron delocalization within the carbon layers. These valence electrons are free to move, so are able to conduct electricity
  • Graphite is the most stable allotrope of carbon under standard conditions
  • Diamond has an extremely rigid lattice which is due to the strong carbon-carbon single bond
  • Diamond is the hardest known bulk material and has the highest thermal conductivity than any bulk material known
  • Some types of diamonds are natural semi-conductors while others are excellent insulators of electricity
  • Diamond is less stable than graphite and it converts continuously back into graphite but in normal conditions the rate of conversion is negligible
  • Graphite upon application of extreme heat and pressure can be converted into diamonds however the resulting diamonds will be smaller than normal but otherwise indistinguishable from natural diamonds
  • Charcoal is produced by slow pyrolysis of wood or sugar in the absence of air. It is a mixture of carbon and ash (lesser amounts)
  • It is a brittle powder but it is usually found as chunks in the nature
  • It has a very porous surface which allows it to adsorb large amounts of chemicals onto it hence is used for the purification of water of organic chemicals which can be toxic
  • A fullerene is any molecule composed entirely of carbon, in the form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid, tube, and many other shapes. Spherical fullerenes are also called buckyballs, and they resemble the balls used in soccer
  • A fullerene is made by treating graphite with high energy lasers