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Valence Electrons in Carbon

Referencing Styles : MLA | Pages : 1

The electrons of an atom that can participate in forming chemical bonds between atoms are known as valence electrons. The molecule of a carbon dioxide contain one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms, which are held with one another through covalent bonds. The carbon has a doubly bond with two atoms of oxygen. Carbon is a very common substance of matter because it is able to combine itself and with other elements also. Carbon can form different type of diversified compounds, which range in size starting from a few atoms to thousands of atoms. Millions of known carbon compounds are there, where carbon is the only element that can form different types of compound.

Carbon is a nonmetal, present in group 14 of the periodic table. The group 14 elements have four valence electrons, and carbon being a group 14 element also has four valence electrons. The valence electrons are those electrons that are present in the outer energy level of an atom, which are involved in chemical bonding. The carbon atoms, to maintain a full outer energy level requires four more valence electrons, or simply a total of eight valence electrons overall. The full outer energy level is considered as the most stable arrangement of electrons. The carbon atom can form four covalent bonds that are formed in between nonmetals. Two atoms share a pair of electrons in case of a covalent bond. Formation of four covalent bonds occur due to sharing of four pairs of electrons, which fills the outer energy level to achieve stability.

Carbon atoms form covalent bonds with other carbon atoms or with atoms of other elements. Carbon forms bonds with hydrogen often and those compounds, which contain carbon and hydrogen only are called hydrocarbons. CH4 (Methane) is a hydrocarbon, where a single carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms form covalent bond.

Carbon forms single, double and even triple bonds with other carbon atoms. The single carbon bond has two carbon atoms, which share one pair of electrons. The double bond in case of a carbon-carbon bond share two pair of electrons and triple bond for a carbon-carbon bond share three pairs of electrons. Examples can be given, where in case of ethane, there are two carbon atoms sharing a single bond, in case of ethane the two carbon atoms share double bond and in ethyne it is seen that the carbon atoms share a triple bond.

The periodic table has a carbon group, which consists of carbon (c), germanium (Ge), lead (Pb), tin (Sn) and flerovium (Fl). The modern IUPAC ( International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry), this group is called Group 14. This group, like other groups show certain patterns in electronic configuration mostly in the outer shells resulting in certain trends in their chemical behavior. Each element of this group has 4 electrons in the outer orbital ( the top energy level of the atom), the last orbital of these elements include the p2 orbital. Most of the cases there is a sharing of electrons of the respective elements. There is a tendency to lose electrons with the increase in size of atoms as it is same with the increase in atomic number. Carbon forms ions, which are negative while forming carbide ( c4- ) ions. Both silicon and germanium are metalloids that can form +4 ions. There is a formation of tetrahalides in carbon with all the halogens. Carbon forms three oxides, named carbon suboxide (c3o2), carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Carbon atoms also help in the formation of disulfides and diselenides.

There are six electrons in carbon in a neutral state. Six electrons minus the two electrons in the first energy level, that has four valence electrons. Valence electrons are those electrons, which are present in the outermost energy level. The first two electrons are present in the 1s orbital of the lowest state of energy level, that fills up the first energy level, where those two electrons will not be valence electrons. The next two electrons go into the 2s orbital of the lowest energy level of the second valence shell, these are valence electrons. The next two electrons go in to the 2p orbital, which has the second highest energy level, which are also valence electrons. Carbon, often hybridizes with the four valence electrons into four equal new orbitals and 4 sp3 orbitals. The carbon can form four bonds, such as CO2 in hybridized state. The lowest energy state or the ground state has carbon forming two bonds by using only 2p orbitals, like carbon monoxide (CO).

Carbon has an average mass of 12 amus. There are three known isotopes of carbon, which are Carbon-12, Carbon-13 and Carbon-14, where the last one is thought to be radioactive. There are four valence electrons in a carbon, which allows it to form different types of bonds, and compounds that exist in nature. Carbon is one of the key ingredients for molecular processes occurring inside the cells of a human body. One class of compounds formed by carbon, with itself is a covalent Network Solid. Carbon forms many bonds with other compounds like hydrogen and chlorine to form molecular solids.

Carbon is a tetravalent atom having a valency of four. The atomic number of carbon is six, so the k shell has 2 electrons whereas the I shells have four electrons, thus the outermost shells have four electrons making the valency of carbon is four. Based on the octate rule, carbon shares four electrons to attain stability and receive 8 electrons in the outermost shell. According to the theory, valency is the number of electrons gained, shared or lost by the atom is the valency of that atom. Here, carbon is sharing four electrons, therefore the valency of carbon atom is four. Carbon is neither a metal or a non-metal, which is calculated by 8 the presence of 8 electrons in the outer most shell of the atom, however in case of metals the valency is the number of electrons present in the outermost shell, carbon atomic number is 6 with 4 electrons in the outermost orbital making carbons’ valency four.


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