Carbon is the key element in life as we know it, and without it, there would be no organic molecules like proteins and nucleic acids that form our bodies. As such, you could say that all forms of life depend upon carbon to some degree.
Carbon is also one of the elements that are most abundant in the universe. It makes up about 25% of the mass of our bodies, which means that for every 6 protons in our DNA, there are about 15 carbon atoms! That’s why carbon is important to live.
15 Benefits Of Carbon That Make It Necessary For Life
Even though it’s the fourth most abundant element on Earth, it’s still quite rare compared to other elements like iron and aluminum. But because of its abundance throughout the universe, scientists agree that the first stars probably formed out of vast clouds of carbon.
There are several reasons why carbon is so important to live, but here are 15 of the most important:
1. Carbon Is Essential For Organic Molecules
Most proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, and lipids are made of carbon. When they’re linked together to form large molecules like DNA or RNA, you get organic compounds.
That’s why the beginnings of life on Earth probably started with organic molecules that we’re able to trigger more reactions with each other to create even more complex structures like enzymes and cell membranes.
2. Carbon Dioxide Is Essential For Photosynthesis
Plants have to take in carbon dioxide from the air so that they can carry out photosynthesis, which is when they turn light into energy by combining it with water and releasing oxygen as a waste product. If there were no carbon dioxide in the air, this wouldn’t be possible.
3. Carbon Is The Key Element In Organic Compounds
Carbon atoms have 4 bonds, so they can form a vast range of compounds with other elements that have different properties and purposes. For example, carbon is found in all living cells as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids. Many organic molecules are not produced by living organisms that contain carbon.
4. Carbon Is An Important Part Of Our Atmosphere
Carbon dioxide is constantly moving between the air, water, and land through the carbon cycle. When carbon dioxide dissolves in water, it makes a weak acid called carbonic acid, which is important for keeping our blood at the correct pH level. Similarly, carbon dioxide is also one of the greenhouse gases that are responsible for trapping the Sun’s heat in our atmosphere.
Carbon exists both as carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere, but also as carbonates dissolved in water. Carbonate builds up over time and forms limestone deposits on the ocean floor, and it’s these deposits that form the building blocks for all sorts of marine organisms.
Related Video – Carbon Compounds
5. Carbon Is A Good Heat Insulator
Many materials that contain carbon, like graphite and diamonds, are good at trapping heat. That’s why carbon is often used to make things like insulation and fire retardants.
6. Carbon Can Be Used To Make Useful Materials
Carbon can be combined with other elements to make all sorts of different materials like steel, plastic, and carbon fiber. These materials have a whole range of different applications, from building construction to manufacturing products. There are also organic materials that are made of carbon, like polymers and resins.
The ability for carbon to form bonds with other elements means that it can increase the rate at which chemical reactions take place, making it an excellent chemical catalyst.
For example, when you’re cooking, the heat that’s used to help things like caramel form is just increasing the rate of chemical reactions. The same thing happens when you throw carbon into the mix so it can act as an effective catalyst in finding out more about all sorts of other chemical reactions.
7. Carbon Can Be Used As A Fuel
When carbon is burned with oxygen, it produces carbon dioxide and water vapor. This process is called combustion and it’s the way most fuels are used to create energy.
8. Carbon Is Important In The Earth’s Climate
The amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere affects the planet’s temperature by trapping heat from the sun. That’s why scientists are so concerned about the increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere that has been caused by human activities.
9. Carbon Can Be Used To Make Diamonds
The hardest natural material on Earth is made of carbon. Diamonds are created when carbon is under high pressure and intense heat for a long time.
10. Carbon Can Be Used To Make Graphite
Graphite is a soft, black mineral that is made of carbon. It’s used in a lot of different applications, from pencil lead to brake pads.
11. Carbon Can Be Used To Make Graphene
Graphene is an even stronger form of carbon that has been attracting a lot of applications in technology. They can be used in lots of different ways, for example, they can be added to paints so buildings stay clean.
12. Carbon Can Absorb Toxic Gases
Activated carbon can be used to absorb toxic gases like benzene and formaldehyde in the air or water. They’re often used in filters for things like gas masks and water purifiers.
13. Carbon Is Used To Make Glues And Gels
Carbon can be combined with water to make gels that are used as adhesives or lubricants. It’s also an important ingredient in many types of glue.
14. Carbon Can Be Used To Make Cement
When calcium carbonate (chalk), silicon dioxide (sand), and aluminum oxide (clay) are heated at high temperatures, they create cement, which is used to make concrete, buildings, roads, bridges, etc.
15. Carbon Is The Duct Tape Of Life
All living things are made mostly of carbon. Plants take up carbon dioxide gas from the air to use as fuel so they can grow and reproduce, while animals eat plants or other animals to get their carbon-rich food.
The Importance Of Carbon – Conclusion
Now you know why carbon is important. Carbon is most probably one of the most important elements on Earth. Without it, there would be no life as we know it. This is because carbon can form so many different bonds with other atoms that new materials are being discovered all the time. Even if these discoveries aren’t immediately useful, understanding how they work will play a part in future innovations.
Carbon is also an essential part of the Earth’s climate, and it has been found on other planets, too. All in all, carbon is one element that we definitely can’t do without!