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04 Carbon and its compound

  • Carbon is an element.
  • The symbol of carbon is C.
  • It is a non-metal.


  • The amount of carbon present in the earth’s crust and the atmosphere is very small.
  • In spite of this carbon plays an important role in every sphere of life. In fact, all the living things, plant and animals, are made up of carbon-based compounds which are called organic compounds.
  • Thus, carbon element is present in all living things. Carbon makes up a large number of things which we use in our daily.
  • Our food materials like grains, pulses, sugar, tea, coffee, fruits and vegetables, etc., are made up of carbon compounds.


  • Carbon Always Forms Covalent Bonds:
    • The atomic number of carbon is 6, which means that an atom of carbon contains 6 electrons. The electronic configuration of carbon is .
    • From the configuration, we can infer that carbon has 4 electrons in the outermost shell i.e. the L shell of its atom.
    • Since a carbon atom has 4 electrons in its outermost shell, it should lose or gain 4 electrons to achieve the inert gas electron configuration to become stable. But this impossible because of the following two reasons:
    • If Carbon gains 4 electrons to become C4-, it will be tough for 6 protons to hold 10 electrons and so the atom will become unstable.
    • If it loses 4 electrons to become C4+ because it would require large amount of energy to remove outer 4 electrons and have only 2 electrons held by proton, which will again become unstable
    • So, Carbon atoms can achieve the inert gas electron arrangement only by the sharing of electrons, therefore, carbon always forms covalent bonds.
  • Carbon is Tetravalent
    • Since one carbon atom requires 4 electrons to achieve the eight-electron inert gas structure, therefore, the valency of carbon is 4.
  • Self-Combination
    • The most unique property of carbon it is its ability to combine with itself, atom to atom, to form long chains.
    • The property of self-combination of carbon atoms to form long results in the large number of carbon compounds (or organic compound), which in turn is beneficial for us.
    • The carbon atoms also form strong covalent bonds with the atoms of other elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, chlorine, and many other elements.
    • The formation of strong bonds by carbon atoms among themselves and with other elements makes the carbon compounds exceptionally stable.


  • Single bond- This is formed when only one pair of electron is shared between the two participating atoms.
  • Double bond- This is formed when two pairs of electrons are shared between the two participating atoms.
  • Triple bond- This is formed when three pairs of electrons are shared between the two participating atoms.

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