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No. 77: Periodic Table 6: Carbon

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Periodic Table 6: Carbon

First | Previous | 2015-04-12 | Next | Latest

Strip by: David Morgan-Mar

T-Rex: T-Rex presents The Periodic Table:
T-Rex: 6. CARBON
T-Rex: Carbon forms diamonds, which are unstable at room temperature and pressure and slowly transform into graphite. True!
T-Rex: Also a major constituent of carbonara sauce.
Utahraptor: Somewhat surprisingly, that is actually technically slightly more true.
T-Rex: Really?
T-Rex: I should make up facts more often!

The author writes:

Diamonds are thermodynamically unstable at atmospheric pressure, which means that there is a lower energy form of carbon, namely graphite. If the carbon atoms could easily transform into graphite, they would, but the activation energy required for this change of form is so high that the reaction proceeds at an extremely slow rate - essentially unnoticeable over thousands of years. (Though over billions of years, all our diamonds will turn into graphite.)

Oddly, I couldn't find an elemental breakdown of carbonara sauce, but if we assume it's roughly the same as a sauce made from human beings, then it could be close to 20% carbon.