The New Compressed ‘GLASSY’ Carbon



  • G.S. Paper 3, G.S. Preliminary Exam
  • What is compressed GLASSY carbon? And its applications
  • Role of carbon on earth and its uses.


  • Recently scientists developed a new form of carbon which is ultra strong but lightweight, electrically conductive and elastic. The new material is named as Glassy Carbon and according to the scientists, can be used in future weaponry to aerospace engineering.

What is compressed GLASSY Carbon?

  • This form of carbon is as hard as a rock but stretches like a rubber.
  • It is a combination of both diamond-like and graphite-like bonding which gives this new form a unique ultra strong property.
  • It can bear over 1000 degree Celsius temperature and about 250,000 times normal atmospheric pressure.
  • Under high-pressure, the layers of the disordered form of carbon buckle and merge up in such a way that this process creates an overall structure that lacks a long-range spatial order, but has a short-range spatial organisation on the nanometre scale.


  • Fuel efficient aeroplanes.
  • Fuel efficient spacecraft, which is light weighted and can travel farther.

Role of carbon on Earth

  • Carbon is a non-metallic, tetravalent chemical element. Carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the Universe and the second most abundant in human bodies, after Oxygen.
  • Graphite and diamond both are allotropes of carbon. While graphite is soft and slippery whereas diamond is one of the hardest material on the planet.
  • Graphene, another form of carbon, is the strongest material known to science.
  • Some of the uses of carbon are:
    • Economic uses in the form of Hydrocarbons i.e. fossil fuels, methane gas, crude oil, kerosene, gasoline etc.
    • Cellulose in the form of wood, cashmere, cotton, linen, silk hemp etc. Wood, oil and coal are used as fuel.
    • Plastics made from synthetic carbon polymers.
    • Carbon steel used in automobile parts.
    • Graphite, allotrope of carbon is used in pencil leads, in electroforming and electroplating, as neutron moderator in nuclear reactors, as lubricants and a pigment, in electrodes for dry batteries, as moulding material in glass manufacturing etc.
    • Charcoal is used in drawing, cooking, iron smelting etc.
    • Diamond is used in cutting, drilling, polishing as well as used as jewellery.
    • Activated charcoal is used as an absorbent and adsorbent in filter material in applications as diverse as gas masks, water purification, and kitchen extractor hoods, and in medicine to absorb toxins, poisons, or gases from the digestive system.