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Forms of Carbon Activity

Carbon is all around us and in us. It is in DNA, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Diamond is one naturally-occurring form of carbon; the graphite used in pencils is another. Aside from the naturally occurring forms, carbon is also found in the nanostructured forms of fullerenes (or buckyballs) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs).

In this activity, participants examine the atomic structure of these four forms of carbon to discover why each form has such different properties.


  • Forms of Carbon activity guide
  • Forms of Carbon poster
  • Models of the atomic structure of diamond, graphite, buckyball, and carbon nanotubes (available from http://www.webelements.com)
  • Plastic coated chicken wire
  • Diamond scribe
  • Glass slides (3" x 3" work well)
  • Pencil, both ends sharpened
  • Pencil, one end sharpened
  • Battery
  • Lightbulb/light emitting diode strip
  • Electrical wire
  • Sheet of paper
  • Magnifying glass (optional)
  • Solder or electrical tape
  • Electron Race Tabletop Exhibit

Training Videos


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Carbon Nanotubes & Buckyballs background


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