Carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass and the 15th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. It’s abundance, and unusual ability to form polymers at temperatures easily encountered on Earth have ensured that it serves as a common element of all known life. Atoms of carbon can bond together in different ways, creating allotropes with varied physical properties. The best known of these are graphite, diamond, and amorphous carbon.
The applications for carbon include use as an alloying element with iron, in the manufacture of steel, as brushes in electrical generators and motors, the use of colloidal graphite or carbon to coat surfaces such as glass, and in electrical assemblies to absorb microwaves and inhibit photoelectrons or secondary electrons.