What Color Is Carbon? Different Shades And Types You Must Know

Oluniyi Akande
Oct 17, 2023 By Oluniyi Akande
Originally Published on Oct 25, 2021
An abstract geometrical stone pattern in black and white.

Carbon comes with its own varied color palette and most of the atoms are colored differently when we see them under a microscope.

Carbon is one of the most common elements that we can see around us in the solar system. It falls at 6th place in the periodic table, preceded by Boron and followed by Nitrogen.

The atomic mass of carbon is 12 amu. However, there are other less common types of carbon weighing 13 and 14 amu. These are called isotopes of carbon.

In total there are three isotopes of carbon. Carbon is a nonmetallic element. It is the 4th most abundant element found in the universe.

It is the 15th most abundant naturally occurring element in the earth's crust and is the second most abundant element found in the human body. Carbon is present in all living and nonliving things.

It could be found in thousands of compounds and also in pure forms. As a matter of fact, it is known to be the most important element in organic chemistry and is the building block of nearly all high organisms and abiotic things. Solid carbon can be as soft as graphite or as hard as diamond.

Carbon has exceptional polymerization and catenation (chain formation) properties. This is the reason why it is able to form a vast variety of organic and inorganic compounds.

Owing to these properties, carbon is able to form many allotropes. Allotropes are structurally different materials formed by the same element.

In recent years due to advancements in science, more and more allotropes of carbon are being discovered. Some of the most common types are graphite and diamond.

It would not be wrong to say that it is impossible to shatter a diamond with physical strength or with the strength of the industry.

The sign that a diamond is real and not a piece of glass is that it sinks when put in water as its density is higher. Graphene and Buckminster fullerenes are also pretty famous allotropes of the carbon family.

Such details about the carbon family are taught in the university. There are a lot of other groups of carbons that exist in extreme conditions such as extremely high temperature and pressure.

The purest form of carbon can be found in diamonds, graphite, and carbon black. Any university science lecture will tell you that diamond and graphite both have a crystalline structure but differ in the way in which the crystal is formed.

Carbon black is amorphous in nature. It is produced as a result of the incomplete combustion of petroleum products. It includes substances such as charcoal, coal, and coke.

All these are produced by oxidation and breakdown of organic compounds. Coal and coke are commonly used as fuels.

Charcoal is used as a filtering agent, a fuel, and as a part of gunpowder. Carbon black is often added to the rubber tires to make them last longer. After reading all about carbon color codes and carbon types, you will also be interested in knowing more about what color is aubergine and what color is espresso.

What are the different shades of carbon?

Did you know that carbon's ability to form long molecular chains is behind the well known double helix molecule? Carbon allotropes come in a variety of colors and shades. Apart from the usual colors like blacks and gray, carbon also comes in other colors like blue and brown colors.

Diamond: Diamonds come in a large variety of Colors. They can be of various colors like yellow, blue, orange, red, green, pink, purple, brown, and even black.

Pure diamonds are perfectly transparent and colorless. Colored diamonds are formed due to impurities trapped inside the crystal structure during the formation of the diamond. The ability is almost impossible to search for red diamonds even with abundant resources since red-colored diamonds are the rarest of all the colored ones.

The next impossible diamond to search for is the natural pure yellow diamond. Purple diamonds are unique but can be found easily.

Graphite: Graphite is rich, warm grey-brown in color. It can also appear black in certain conditions.

Different carbon compounds can have different colors depending on which other types of elements are used in their formation. The carbon color code (gray) is #625D5D.

What is blue carbon?

Blue carbon is the carbon that is stored in the coastal and marine ecosystems. Coastal areas like lagoons, tidal marshes, mangroves, seagrass meadows, and backwaters usually store more carbon per unit as opposed to land forests. This carbon is stored towards the base of vegetation on earth and can not get back to the carbon cycle.

As human activities amid atmospheric carbon in the form of carbon dioxide, these mangrove forests play a big role in balancing out the excess carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere.

They do this by trapping the blue carbon, this makes these ecosystems a 'carbon sink'. Even though these ecosystems are much smaller than the regular land forest ecosystems, they act like a sponge and absorb a huge amount of blue carbon, over the course of millions of years.

These ecosystems play a major role in dealing with the greenhouse effect and global warming.

Other types of carbon colors are black and brown carbon.

Brown carbon: carbon is also found in brown color. Brown carbon comes as a result of improper combustion of biomass. This includes firewood, waste weeds et cetera. This gets accumulated in the earth’s atmosphere and forms brown-colored clouds.

These clouds scatter the sunlight and thus reduce the rate of evaporation. This affects rainfall patterns and disturbs the water cycle. This phenomenon can have an adverse effect on vegetation and crops.

Black carbon: Black carbon is formed by incomplete burning or combustion of petroleum products, biomass. It is the major constituent of 'soot' that is produced on burning gasoline and burning diesel.

Black carbon is posing a great threat to our environment and leads to global warming. It is also responsible for a number of health ailments such as asthma, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

What is the color of carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas. Its density is a bit lower than air. It is sometimes also known as carbonic oxide, exhaust gas, or flue gas. It's highly poisonous and has been known as the 'silent killer" because it sneaks up on a person before killing them.

Carbon Vs Black Color

Carbon color is usually referred to as a dark mixture of blue, gray, and black. It has a very soot-like appearance to it. It appears to be pitch dark.

Charcoal gray is probably the closest a person can get to describing "carbon" color. It is different from black because it's not purely just "black". Think of it as the color of crushed coal and lead combined together. It's not entirely black and neither is it entirely gray.

On the other hand, pure jet black has no variations in it. It is like a pure dark mass. It absorbs most of the light and looks darker than the night sky.

Carbon And Greenhouse Effect

The reason it is called assigned with the color green is that nature is referred to the color green. The greenhouse effect refers to the trapping of the sun’s heat in the earth’s atmosphere. There are certain gases present in the atmosphere that show this greenhouse property due to heat.

The greenhouse effect is the reason that our planet is habitable. Without the greenhouse effect, Earth would have been icy and inhabitable. However, nowadays, this greenhouse effect is on the rise due to the constant emission of excess greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This is leading to global warming and climate change at a very fast pace.

Carbon dioxide is the major gas having a direct impact on global warming. We all have been taught about the harmful effects of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Since we were in kindergarten. But there is another carbon-derived gas that has an important effect on global warming. It is carbon monoxide.

Unlike Oxygen, it is not readily available in our normal everyday atmosphere. Carbon monoxide is a highly toxic gas. It has 210 times higher affinity with hemoglobin as compared to oxygen. This is the reason that even the smallest bit of carbon monoxide if inhaled leads to carbon monoxide poisoning and instant death.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what color is carbon then why not take a look at what color is garnet, or what color is copper.

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Written by Oluniyi Akande

Doctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

Oluniyi Akande picture

Oluniyi AkandeDoctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

With an accomplished background as a Veterinarian, SEO content writer, and public speaker, Oluniyi brings a wealth of skills and experience to his work. Holding a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan, he provides exceptional consulting services to pet owners, animal farms, and agricultural establishments. Oluniyi's impressive writing career spans over five years, during which he has produced over 5000 high-quality short- and long-form pieces of content. His versatility shines through as he tackles a diverse array of topics, including pets, real estate, sports, games, technology, landscaping, healthcare, cosmetics, personal loans, debt management, construction, and agriculture.

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