Who Discovered Carbon

When was the element carbon discovered?

Expert Answers
embizze eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The element carbon was discovered in prehistory in the form of soot and charcoal. In 1722 it was demonstrated that it was the addition of carbon (in the form of charcoal) to iron that creates steel. Diamonds, which are of course carbon, have been known for millenia.

Carbon has been used throughout history in various forms including charcoal and graphite. Graphite was erroneously thought to contain lead, but it was discovered that a small amount of iron mixed with a charcoal like substance created graphite.

The term "carbone" was first used to describe the element in the 18th century. The term came from the Latin word for charcoal or coal.

Antoine Lavoisier included carbon in a textbook in 1789.

udonbutterfly | Student

Carbon is such an interesting element! Just a little difference in formation can mean a completely different substance with carbon like how graphite and diamonds are both carbon but they have different structures. Carbon has also been an element that has been present through century's and it was known about but many did not classify it as an element. That is until an hand full of scientist conduct experiments and eventually eluded to the act that fact the carbon was indeed an element.

sid-sarfraz | Student

Carbon was recognized as an element in the mid 18th century by French physicist René Antoine Ferchault Reaumur. Before that, carbon was given big importance since ancient times and was used in fires, soot, graphite, ink, kajal etc.

After taking it as an element it was proved that it cannot be further decomposed.  Carbon is an important element which is used in our daily lives through various products. Carbon is also found in our body in our organs, tissues etc through which the bodily processes functions. Carbon is found in our body, plastics, marbles, plants, graphite, diamond, alcohol, petroleum products, and etc..

malkaam | Student

Carbon is a unique and extra ordinary element produced by burning charcoal. It was officially classified near the end of the eighteenth century. It was merely discovered in the prehistoric times, and the name of the discoverere will probably never be known. While over the time, it was available to mankind in various forms.

Carbon has always been available to mankind since the earliest times when they used to put up fires and the smoke gathered on the ceilings as soot. Moreover, later it was started being called Lampblack, as when lamps were invented people started using oil to burn them. Hence, a sooty substance black in color, accumulated on the inside of the lamp. Also, this lampblack was used to make ink, while ancient Egyptians used it to make eyeliners.

Later on, the most significant mode of its presence was found as charcoal, which was retrieved after heating of wood in the absence of air so that it doesn’t catch any fire. This was done as early as the Roman Civilzation.

Moreover, Carbon was not recognized as an element until the seventeenth century. It happened after Robert Boyle suggested that an element was a substance that could not be decomposed into simpler substances. Consequently, French physicist René Antoine Ferchault Reaumur (1683-1757) believed that carbon might as well be an element, as it cannot be further decomposed.  He made various studies and thus found out that the presence of this black combustable material was what differenciated charcoalHence in his chemistry textbook Traité Élémentaire de Chimie, published in Paris in 1789, he listed carbon as an "oxidizable and acidifiable nonmetallic element"

As mentioned above, carbon was not officially recognized as an element until the end of the eighteenth century.Thus, in 1787, four French chemists wrote a book mentioning a method for naming chemical substances. They used the name  carbone, is based on the earlier Latin term for charcoal, charbon.

This image has been Flagged as inappropriate Click to unflag
Image (1 of 1)
thewanderlust878 | Student

Carbon is one of the most important elements that exists in our world today. Without it, nothing could live; human, animal, or otherwise, which stands to reason that carbon has been around for a very long time. Carbon also makes up things such as soot and graphite, not just human and animal bodies. It has always been here, but was not acknowledged as an element until about the mid 18th century. It has been noted that most likely Antoine Lavoisier "discovered" carbon since he was the first to mention it in a textbook he wrote in 1789.

Hope this helped!  

rachellopez | Student

Carbon had existed in ancient times, however, people did not realize that carbon had changed forms. Carbon was named by a French scientist, Antoine Lavoisier, and continued research on the element. In 1772, chemists discovered diamond and charcoal were the same element. In 1796, Smithson Tennant discovered diamond was, in fact, pure carbon. In 1855, Benjamin Brodie discovered graphite was carbon as well. Carbon is still studied today.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question