<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=iA1Pi1a8Dy00ym" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="" />
Skip Navigation
We experienced a service interruption from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM. PT. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. (Posted: Tuesday 02/21/2017)

Crystalline Carbon

Explores the three forms of pure-carbon compounds.

Atoms Practice
Estimated3 minsto complete
Practice Crystalline Carbon
This indicates how strong in your memory this concept is
Estimated3 minsto complete
Practice Now
Turn In
Fried Pencil

Fried Pencil

Credit: Juliancolton
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Closeup_of_pencil_graphite.JPG
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

This pencil “lead” is actually made of graphite. Graphite is a crystalline form of the element carbon.

Amazing but True!

  • Elements that can conduct electric current are generally metals. However, the nonmetal carbon in the form of graphite is a good conductor of electricity.
  • Credit: Mike Beauregard
    Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/31856336@N03/7140603137/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    Graphite can be found in crystal form. This particular specimen is from Baffin Island in Canada [Figure2]

  • Watch this video to see how connecting a pencil to a battery causes current to flow through the pencil and “fry” it:


Show What You Know

At the link below, learn more about carbon, current, and short circuits. Then answer the questions that follow.

  1. Why is graphite, a nonmetal, a good conductor of electricity?
  2. What is Ohm’s law? How does Ohm’s law explain why the pencil burns in the video above?
  3. How could you reduce the amount of current flowing through the pencil in the video?
  4. What is a short circuit? Give an example of how a short circuit might occur.
  5. How does the demonstration in the video show the danger of a short circuit?

Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.

Color Highlighted Text Notes
Please to create your own Highlights / Notes
Show More

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Juliancolton; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Closeup_of_pencil_graphite.JPG; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Mike Beauregard; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/31856336@N03/7140603137/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Explore More

Sign in to explore more, including practice questions and solutions for Crystalline Carbon.
Please wait...
Please wait...