The making of the amazing stuff ancient Romans called carbo is not at all easy. For example, because it is a medium size star Sun is incapable of producing enough heat to make it. Wikipedia tells
Formation of the carbon atomic nucleus requires
a nearly simultaneous triple collision of alpha particles (helium 4 nuclei) within the core of a giant or supergiant star
which is known as the triple-alpha process,
as the products of further nuclear fusion reactions of helium with hydrogen or another helium nucleus produce lithium-5 and beryllium-8 respectively, both of which are highly unstable and decay almost instantly back into smaller nuclei.
This happens in conditions of
and therefore no significant carbon was created during the Big Bang.
- temperatures over 100 megakelvin and helium concentration
- that the rapid expansion and cooling of the early universe prohibited,
- the interiors of stars in the horizontal branch (of star life-cycle chart)
- transform three helium nuclei into carbon by means of this triple-alpha process.
In order to be available for formation of life as we know it,
The Solar System is one such third-generation star system.
- this carbon must then later be scattered into space as dust, in supernova explosions,
- as part of the material which later forms second, third-generation star systems
- which have planets accreted from such dust.
CNO cycle wikimedia
Another of the fusion mechanisms powering stars is the CNO cycle, in which carbon acts as a catalyst to allow the reaction to proceed.
Update December 27 2012
|Graphene. Image BBC Science Environment|
"Graphene is made of sheets of carbon just one atom thick, and has outstanding mechanical strength and electronic properties.
It is hoped that the material will be used in a wide array of industrial and everyday applications."
BBC News - Science and Technology December 27 2012