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Carbon allotropes

What is here?

Allotropes are different structural modifications of an element.

Carbon allotropes include graphene, graphite and diamond. The fullerenes form a huge number of different carbon allotropes that exist as balls and tubes of carbon atoms. The models show examples of these molecules.

mouse_icon.gifDouble tap to start and stop each animation.

chemdoodle.png ball and stick model
line model
space-filling model
perspective view



carbon nanotube

buckyball (this one is C60)


Graphene and graphite

Graphene consists of a single sheet of carbon atoms, one atom thick. The atoms are arranged in hexagons. Graphite consists of layers of graphene.


Spherical fullerenes are often called "buckyballs". Buckminsterfullerene, C60, was the first buckyball to be discovered. Its carbon atoms are arranged in hexagons and pentagons. Carbon nanotubes can have open ends (like the one here) or closed ends.


Each atom in diamond is joined to four other atoms, forming a giant lattice structure.