Why Life Chose Carbon Essay Example
Why Life Chose Carbon Essay Example

Why Life Chose Carbon Essay Example

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  • Pages: 2 (319 words)
  • Published: September 10, 2018
  • Type: Essay
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Carbon was chosen by life because it is the second most abundant element in the human body, comprising 18% of its wet weight. Organic molecules, found mainly in living matter, are primarily carbon-based. These molecules make up the majority of molecules in all living organisms, from plants to humans. Carbon possesses four distinct characteristics, one being its capacity to form extended chains through bonding with other carbon atoms. Stable covalent carbon-carbon bonds can be formed by sharing pairs of electrons with neighboring carbon atoms.

Carbon is able to form branched chains and rings, serving as the structural basis for organic molecules. The size and shape of molecules depend on the length of the carbon chain. The diversity of molecules produced is greatly influenced by the flexibility of carbon chains. A carbon atom skeleton with no attachments has limited biological functionality. Moreover, carbon can cr


eate covalent bonds with other atoms, allowing for the formation and inclusion of various functional groups in organic molecules.

The presence of functional groups imparts distinct chemical characteristics to molecules. Carbon's role in providing the structural framework greatly influences the unique properties of biological molecules. Proper fitting of molecules is crucial within cells. Moreover, the capacity of carbon atoms to form multiple bonds with one another facilitates shorter and stronger bonds, thus enhancing the diversity in organic chemistry.

The C-C bond's suitability for constructing the molecules of life is apparent when comparing its bond energy to the energy found in sunlight. The energy encompassed within the spectrum ranges from 170-270kJ/ml of photons, which is insufficient to break double carbon bonds. Without this limitation, light would cause carbon compounds to spontaneously break,

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leading to the absence of life as we know it. Conversely, ultraviolet light has higher energy levels and poses greater risks to life. Once the wavelength reaches 300nm, the energy of 400kJ/mol of photons becomes enough to break double carbon bonds.

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