Versatile Nature of Carbon Atoms:

Introduction

Carbon is well known for its structural complexity and the hard surface that the carbon compounds have. But, carbon is chemically a versatile compound. Versatility refers to its flexibility to form bonds and various structures by exchanging the electrons between the atoms. Because of this feature, there are a wide variety of carbon variants. Carbon is found in many different chemical forms in a variety of industries. It can form single, double, and triple bonds, chains, branched chains, and rings when connected to other carbon atoms.

 

Table of contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Reasons for versatility
  3. Characteristics of covalent compounds

 

Reasons for versatility

1. Catenation

The linking between atoms of the same elements to form a longer chain is called the catenation. Carbon is gifted with such a unique property that can easily form bonds with other atoms of carbon consequently, a long chain can be formed. Carbon chains can be straight, branched and cyclic rings.

2. Tetravalency of Carbon

Tetra valency means, carbon has 4 free electrons in its outermost orbit, because of the four valencies, carbon can form bond with 4 other carbon atoms or the atoms of other monovalent elements. The 4 valency help the carbon atom to form bonding with atoms of chlorine, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur and a few other elements.

3. Smaller atomic size

Another reason for its versatility is the size of carbon atoms is smaller enabling the nucleus to hold the shared pair of electrons firmly. As a result, they form a very stable structure.

 

Characteristics of covalent compounds

  1. Covalent compounds have low melting and boiling points hence the molecules with covalent bonds can be separated with less amount of energy.

  2. In a covalent compound, enthalpy of fusion and latent heat of vaporization is comparatively lower than the ionic compounds.

  3. Covalent compounds feel soft and relatively flexible as the melting and boiling points are low.

  4.  Covalent compounds are highly fire-friendly (flammable) than ionic compounds because they often contain carbon and Hydrogen.

  5.  Any covalent compound dissolved in does not conduct electricity because ions are needed to conduct electricity in an aqueous solution.

  6. Many covalent compounds don’t dissolve well in water

 

 



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