Carbon is all around us and in us. It is in DNA, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, and it makes up approximately 20% of the human body. It is a key ingredient in the fossil fuels used to power our cities and vehicles. Carbon can form the hardest natural material known on earth, diamond, and it can also form one of the softest materials, graphite. The properties of each material change as the arrangement of atoms changes. In the field of nanotechnology, carbon atoms can form tiny tubes (nanotubes) or hollow balls (fullerenes or buckyballs). Nanotubes are twice as strong as steel but weigh six times less! Nanotubes and buckyballs have a wide variety of applications including flat panel display screens, hydrogen storage, artificial muscles, chemical sensors, and even drug delivery.
Links to the right provide more information and activities on this topic. Below you will find a video showing how to make carbon nanotube finger puppets! You can find a coloring page around carbon nanotubes here!