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All carbon allotropes are solids under normal conditions, with graphite being the most thermodynamically stable form.

They are chemically resistant and require high temperature to react even with oxygen.

Graphite is a good electrical conductor while diamond has a low electrical conductivity.

Under normal conditions, diamond, carbon nanotubes, and graphene have the highest thermal conductivities of all known materials.

At elevated temperatures, carbon reacts with oxygen to form carbon oxides, and will rob oxygen from metal oxides to leave the elemental metal.

This exothermic reaction is used in the iron and steel industry to smelt iron and to control the carbon content of steel: Carbon combines with some metals at high temperatures to form metallic carbides, such as the iron carbide cementite in steel, and tungsten carbide, widely used as an abrasive and for making hard tips for cutting tools.

For example, graphite is opaque and black while diamond is highly transparent.

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In general, covalent radius decreases with lower coordination number and higher bond order.Although thermodynamically prone to oxidation, carbon resists oxidation more effectively than elements such as iron and copper that are weaker reducing agents at room temperature.Carbon is the sixth element, with a ground-state electron configuration of 1s, of which the four outer electrons are valence electrons.This gives graphite its softness and its cleaving properties (the sheets slip easily past one another).Because of the delocalization of one of the outer electrons of each atom to form a π-cloud, graphite conducts electricity, but only in the plane of each covalently bonded sheet.

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