Carbon and it`s reactions


Carbon is the most versatile in nature becasue it demonstrates a wide range of reactions with many other compounds available in nature. It is called versatile as it can form multiple bond types; single, double, and triple. It has the ability to form chains such as straight chains,  branched chains,  rings (if it is connected to other carbon atoms).

Table Of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Extraction of carbon

3. Uses of carbon compounds

4. Reactions of Carbon

    4.1  Combustion Reactions

    4.2 Oxidation Reactions

    4.3 Addition reactions

    4.4 Substitution Reaction


Extraction of carbon

Diamond, graphite, and other forms of carbon are taken directly from mines in the earth. Diamond and graphite can also be made in laboratories. Synthetic diamonds, for example, are made by placing pure carbon under very high pressures (about 800,000 pounds per square inch) and temperatures (about 2,700°C). The carbon is heated and squeezed in the same way organic material is heated and squeezed in the earth. Today, about a third of all diamonds used are synthetically produced.


Uses of carbon compounds

  1. It is a highly useful compound in various forms . Some of the most common forms in use are diamond and graphite. Since diamond-hard, it is used to cut glass, metals,  polishing and grinding of hard surfaces. 

  2. Graphite is used in many industrial settings, most common usage of graphite is in the form of pencil lead. It is also used in-between machine parts that undergo constant movement. Carbon allows the parts to slide over without friction. Graphite is also used as a refractory material that can resist very high temperatures by reflecting heat away from itself. Some of the nuclear power plants also use Graphite .

  3. The powdered(Amorphous)  forms of carbon are used in black colour inks some, colouring agents such as pigments. Cabon is also added to rubber tyres and some polishes.

  4. Medically,  activated charcoal is used in treating organophosphorus poisons consumption becasue it cab absorb the poisonous material. 


Carbon reactions

Combustion Reactions

Combustion is the process of burning carbon and carbon compounds in the presence of oxygen produce heat and light energy. Carbon alone is not highly combustible but the excess of oxygen can burn the carbon compounds  Some of the examples of the combustion reaction of organic compounds are 

  1. Carbon + O2( oxygen) ⇨ CO2 + heat and light

  2. C3H8 (propane) + 5O2 = 3CO2 + 4H2O+ heat and light. Propane is a gas present in LPG used for domestic and commercial kitchens for cooking. The saturated hydrocarbons produce a clear blue flame and the unsaturated hydrocarbons burn with a yellow flame that indicates the presence of carbon. There are 2 types of combustion of hydrocarbons. Complete combustion and incomplete combustion. Complete combustion can occur only if there is sufficient oxygen (air), and incomplete combustion occurs when there is insufficient Oxygen(air) and the hydrocarbon is in excess.


Oxidation Reactions

Oxidation is a chemical reaction that takes place in the presence of oxygen where carbon gets oxidized but it won’t get burnt. So the thumb rule is that, though combustion is generally an oxidation reaction, not every oxidation reaction is combustion reactions. Oxidation is also carried out by using oxidizing agents (Oxidants). Oxidizing agents are also referred to as oxidants. Oxidants are substances that oxidize other substances while undergoing reduction themselves. For instance, alcohols undergo oxidation in the presence of oxidants like alkaline potassium permanganate (KMnO4) to form carbolic acids. Similarly, ethanol undergoes oxidation to produce Acetic acid when heated by an Oxidizing agent like alkaline KMnO4.


Addition reactions

The formation of larger molecules by combining radicals is called an addition reaction. During an addition reaction of unsaturated organic compounds, a reagent acts in between the double-bonded or triple bonded carbon atoms. These reagents assist in addition reaction in which, unsaturated organic compounds undergo additional reactions to become saturated. Compounds like alkenes and alkynes contain multiple bonds (C=C, C≡C) between their carbon atoms and the addition reaction will bring a balanced saturation in this case.  For example; ethene is converted into ethane when heated with the catalyst nickel, it is written as shown below. Hence, CH2=CH2 + H2 + (Nickel catalyst) ⇨ CH3−CH3. In this case, nickel acts as a catalyst, which will either increase or decrease the rate of a given reaction, without it`self undergoing any chemical change.


Substitution Reaction

A Substitution reaction is the one in which an atom or a group of atoms in the compound are replaced by another atom or group of atoms. These are single displacement reactions. For example, under the presence of Sunlight, Methane reacts with chlorine gas to produce chloromethane and hydrogen chloride. So, CH4 + Cl2 + Sunlight ⇨ CH3Cl + HCl .Here sunlight has UV rays that break down the chlorine into free radicles, which initiates the substitution reaction. These reactions define the chemical properties of carbon compounds.





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