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Thus, irrespective of its allotropic form, carbon remains solid at higher temperatures than the highest-melting-point metals such as tungsten or rhenium.
Although thermodynamically prone to oxidation, carbon resists oxidation more effectively than elements such as iron and copper, which are weaker reducing agents at room temperature.
Carbon's abundance, its unique diversity of organic compounds, and its unusual ability to form polymers at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth enables this element to serve as a common element of all known life.
It is the second most abundant element in the human body by mass (about 18.5%) after oxygen.
The three relatively well-known allotropes of carbon are amorphous carbon, graphite, and diamond.
At normal pressures, carbon takes the form of graphite, in which each atom is bonded trigonally to three others in a plane composed of fused hexagonal rings, just like those in aromatic hydrocarbons.
Graphite is much more reactive than diamond at standard conditions, despite being more thermodynamically stable, as its delocalised pi system is much more vulnerable to attack.
For example, graphite can be oxidised by hot concentrated nitric acid at standard conditions to mellitic acid, C Carbon sublimes in a carbon arc, which has a temperature of about 5,800 K (5,530 °C; 9,980 °F).
The physical properties of carbon vary widely with the allotropic form.
For example, graphite is opaque and black while diamond is highly transparent.