Properties of Carbon

Carbon has very diverse physical and also chemical properties because of the nature that its bonding.

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Key Takeaways

Key PointsCarbon has several allotropes, or various forms in which it can exist. This allotropes encompass graphite and also diamond, i beg your pardon have really different properties.Despite carbon’s ability to make 4 bonds and its existence in countless compounds, it is very unreactive under typical conditions.Carbon exist in 3 key isotopes: 12C, 13C, 14C. 14C is radioactive and used in dating carbon-containing samples ( radiometric date ).Key Termsallotropes: various forms that a chemical element found in its organic state.radiometric dating: A technique used to date materials by comparing the herbal abundance of radioactive atoms to your remaining degeneration products.half-life: In a radioactive decay process, the quantity of time compelled to finish up with fifty percent of the initial (undecayed) material.

Carbon is the chemical facet with the price C and atomic number 6 (contains 6 proton in its cell nucleus ). Together a member of team 14 ~ above the routine table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making 4 electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds. The most usual isotope the carbon has actually 6 protons and 6 neutrons, and has an atom mass the 12.0107 amu. Its floor state electron construction is 1s22s22p2. Its oxidation state varieties from 4 come -4, and also it has actually an electronegativity worth of 2.55 top top the Pauling scale. That is a solid, and sublimes at 3,642 °C (it has actually the greatest sublimation suggest of all the elements).

Carbon Allotropes

Carbon has actually several allotropes, or various forms in which it exists. Interestingly, carbon allotropes span a wide range of physics properties: diamond is the hardest naturally occurring substance, and also graphite is one of the softest known substances. Diamond is transparent, the can be fried abrasive, and also can be an electric insulator and also thermal conductor. Vice versa, graphite is opaque, a very an excellent lubricant, a an excellent conductor of electricity, and also a thermal insulator. Allotropes of carbon room not limited to diamond and graphite, but likewise include buckyballs (fullerenes), amorphous carbon, glassy carbon, carbon nanofoam, nanotubes, and others.

Allotropes the Carbon: some allotropes the carbon: a) diamond, b) graphite, c) lonsdaleite, d–f) fullerenes (C60, C540, C70); g) amorphous carbon, h) carbon nanotube.

Chemical Reactivity the Carbon

Carbon compounds type the communication of all known life on Earth, and also the carbon-nitrogen cycle provides some energy developed by the sun and other stars. Carbon has actually an affinity for bonding v other small atoms, consisting of other carbon atoms, via the formation of stable, covalent bonds. Despite the truth that it is current in a vast number of compounds, carbon is weakly reactive compared to other facets under common conditions. At traditional temperature and also pressure, that resists oxidation; that does no react v sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, chlorine, or any type of alkali metals. At higher temperatures, carbon will certainly react with oxygen to offer carbon oxides, and metals to give metal carbides.

Carbon has actually the ability to type very lengthy chains of solid and secure interconnecting C-C bonds. This property allows carbon to form an nearly infinite number of compounds; in fact, over there are much more known carbon-containing compounds than all the link of the various other chemical facets combined, other than those of hydrogen (because nearly all essential compounds contain hydrogen as well).

Carbon Isotopes

Carbon has two stable, naturally emerging isotopes: carbon-12 and also carbon-13. Carbon-12 renders 98.93% and also carbon-13 forms the continuing to be 1.07%. The concentration the 12C is additional increased in biological materials due to the fact that biochemical reactions discriminate versus 13C. To know of carbon in NMR experiment is done with the isotope 13C. 14C is a radiation isotope the carbon through a half-life that 5730 years. It has a very low herbal abundance (0.0000000001%), and also decays to 14N v beta decay. It is supplied in radiometric dating to determine the period of carbonaceous samples (of physical or biological origin) increase to around 60,000 years old.

In total, there are 15 known isotopes that carbon and also the shortest-lived of these is 8C, which decays v proton emission and also alpha decay, and also has a half-life that 1.98739 x 10−21 seconds. The exotic 19C exhibits a nuclear halo, which means its radius is appreciably larger than would be meant if the nucleus to be a ball of consistent density.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsCarbides are generally formed at high temperatures (> 1500 °C).Carbides are generally quite stable and also exhibit high melting points.Carbides can be classified together salt-like, interstitial, and also covalent.Key Termselectronegativity: The propensity of one atom to lure electrons come itself.

Types the Carbides

Carbides are compounds written of carbon and also less electronegative elements and they are identified by their chemical bonding (ionic, covalent). Lock are normally prepared from steels or metal oxides at high temperature (1500 °C or higher) by combine the metal with carbon. Carbides are offered in vital industrial applications.

Titanium Carbide: Lattice structure of titanium carbide.

Saline Carbides

Salt-like (saline) carbides space composed the the very electropositive atoms, such as the alkali, alkali earth, and group -III metals, blended with carbon. Aluminum creates carbides, but other elements from group XIII perform not. This materials have isolated carbon centers, often explained as “C4-” in the metanides, “C22-” in the acetylides, and “C34-” in the sesquicarbides.

Methanides are carbides the decompose in water and generate water; aluminum carbide (Al4C3) and beryllium carbide (Be2C) are examples of this class of carbides.Acetylides are developed from alkali, alkali earth, and also lanthanoid steels with the acetylide anion C22-. Lanthanoids also type carbides through the formula M2C3. Metals from group XI also form acetylides, such as copper(I) acetylide and silver acetylide. Carbides of the actinide elements, which have actually the framework MC2 and also M2C3, are likewise described as salt-like derivatives that C22-.The polyatomic ion C34- is described as one allylenide or sesquicarbide and also is found in Li4C3 and also Mg2C3. The allylenide is linear and isoelectronic with CO2.

Covalent Carbides

Covalent carbides are discovered in carbides that silicon and also boron. The reason these two elements type “covalent” carbides is because of their similar electronegativity and also size come carbon. Due to the fact that of this, their association is fully covalent in character. Silicon carbide has two similar crystalline forms, which space both pertained to the diamond structure. Boron carbide (B4C), top top the other hand, has an unusual structure that contains icosahedral boron units linked by carbon atoms. In this respect, boron carbide is comparable to the boron-rich borides. Both silicon carbide (also known as carborundum) and also boron carbide are really hard and refractory materials. Both materials have necessary industrial applications.

Interstitial Carbides

Interstitial carbides define the carbides of the group-IV, -V, and also VI transition metals. These carbides room metallic and refractory. They are formed so that the carbon atom fit right into octahedral interstices in a close-packed steel lattice when the metal atom’s radius is higher than ~135 pm. When the metal atoms space cubic-close-packed (ccp), then filling all of the octahedral interstices through carbon achieves 1:1 stoichiometry through the rock-salt structure. When the metal atoms room hexagonal-close-packed, (hcp), since the octahedral interstices lie directly opposite each other on either side of the layer of steel atoms, filling only among these v carbon achieves 2:1 stoichiometry. Together a result of the packing, castle are rather stable and also have very high melting points and low electric resistance.

Intermediate transition Metal Carbides

In intermediate change metal carbides, the transition-metal ion is smaller sized than the vital 135 pm, and the structures space not interstitial however are much more complex. Multiple stoichiometries room common. For example, iron forms a number of carbides: Fe3C, Fe7C3 and Fe2C. The best known is cementite, Fe3C, which is existing in steels. This carbides are much more reactive than the interstitial carbides; for example, the carbides the Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, and Ni room all hydrolyzed through dilute acids (and sometimes by water) to productivity a mixture the hydrogen and also hydrocarbons. This compounds share attributes with both the inert interstitials and the more reactive salt-like carbides.

Metal complexes include Cn pieces are fine known. This molecular carbides often have carbon-centered clusters. Some metals such as tin and lead are not believed to kind carbides.

Carbon Oxides and also Carbonates

Oxocarbons are compounds comprise carbon and also oxygen; lock exist together carbon oxides and also carbonates.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsCarbon monoxide is the most basic carbon oxide, consists of one carbon atom bonded to one oxygen atom. The is highly toxic.Carbon dioxide is a direct compound written of a carbon atom bonded to two oxygen atoms. It exists predominately together a gas and also is a product that the human being metabolism.Carbon dioxide is dissolve in water, in which that readily and also reversibly converts come carbonic acid. The conjugate bases of a carbonic acid are known as the bicarbonate and also carbonate ions.Carbonates space the salt of carbonic acids. They form when a positive charged steel ion comes into call with the oxygen atom of the lead carbonate ion. This compounds are often insoluble in water and exhibit part level of basicity or acidity in aqueous solutions.Key Termsoxocarbon: A compound containing just atoms that carbon and oxygen.oxide: A binary chemical compound of oxygen with one more chemical element.centrosymmetric: having a facility of symmetry.

Properties the Carbon Oxides

Carbon oxides, or oxocarbons, room a class of organic compounds containing only carbon and oxygen. The most basic oxocarbons room carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Plenty of other stable and also metastable oxides that carbon are known however are seldom encountered.

Carbon Monoxide

The easiest oxocarbon is carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless gas the is contempt lighter 보다 air. It is toxic to humans and animals when encountered in greater concentrations, in spite of the fact that that is created in the metabolism and is believed to have actually some organic functions.


Carbon Monoxide: Carbon monoxide is stabilized by three different resonance structures. The first resonance structure is the most crucial one.

Carbon monoxide is composed of one carbon and one oxygen atom linked by a triple bond. The distance between the carbon and also oxygen atom is 112.8 pm, regular with the visibility of a triple bond. The shortcut dissociation energy of CO is 1072 kJ/mol and represents the the strongest chemical link known. CO has three resonance structures, however the framework with the triple shortcut is the best approximation that the real distribution of electron thickness in the molecule.

CO is naturally created by the human being body together a signaling molecule. Abnormalities in the metabolism have actually been attached to a variety of diseases, consisting of hypertension and also heart failure. CO is present in little amounts in the atmosphere, largely as a an outcome of the burning of fossil fuels and fires. Through herbal processes in the atmosphere, that is eventually oxidized come carbon dioxide (CO2).

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is a naturally arising linear compound written of 2 oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a carbon atom. The two C=O bonds are equivalent and short (116.3 pm), constant with dual bonding. The link is centrosymmetric and so has actually no network dipole. CO2 is colorless; in ~ high concentration it has actually a sharp, acidic odor, however at lower concentrations that is odorless. At conventional temperature and also pressure, its thickness is 1.98 kg/m3, about 1.5 times the of air. It has actually no liquid state in ~ pressures listed below 520 kPa; at 1 atm, the gas deposits straight to a solid at temperatures below -78.5 °C, and the heavy sublimes straight to gas above this temperature. Solid CO2 is well-known as dried ice.


Carbon Dioxide: A main carbon atom is connected to 2 oxygen atom via twin bonds in a straight structure. The molecule has actually no net dipole moment since it’s centrosymmetric.

Carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere at this time occurs at an mean concentration of about 390 components per million by volume. Concentration of the gas tend to fall throughout the northern spring and also summer as plants consume the gas (during the procedure of photosynthesis), and also rise during autumn and winter as plants walk dormant, decay, or die. CO2 is an finish product of the line of organisms via the moving respiration process, in which power is obtained from the breaking down of sugars, fats, and amino acids. Regardless of the reality that the human body produces roughly 2.3 pounds that carbon dioxide every day, the is considered toxic, and concentrations approximately 10 percent may reason suffocation.

Carbonic Acid and also Its Conjugate Bases

Carbon dioxide is dissolve in water; that reversibly converts to carbonic acid (H2CO3). The salt that carbonic acids are called carbonates and are identified by the carbonate ion, CO32-. The lead carbonate ion is the most basic oxocarbon anion, consisting of one carbon atom surrounding by three oxygen atoms in a trigonal planar arrangement. The Lewis structure of the carbonate ion has actually two solitary bonds to negative oxygen atoms and one short double bond to a neutral oxygen. This framework is, however, incompatible with the ion’s observed symmetry, which implies that the three bonds and also oxygen atoms room equivalent. The the contrary can best be stood for by three resonance structures.

The lead carbonate Ion: The carbonate ion has actually three resonance structures. The true framework of the carbonate is an typical of these 3 resonance structures.

In aqueous solutions, carbonate, bicarbonate (HCO3–), carbon dioxide, and also carbonic acid exist together in equilibrium. In strongly an easy conditions, the lead carbonate ion predominates, while in weakly simple conditions, the bicarbonate ion predominates. In acidic conditions, aqueous CO2 (aq) is the main kind and is in equilibrium v carbonic acid — the equilibrium lies strongly towards carbon dioxide.

Carbonate Salts

Metal carbonates usually decompose top top heating, liberating carbon dioxide and also leaving behind one oxide of the metal. Ionic compounds type when a positively charged metal ion, M+, attaches to the negatively charged oxygen atoms of the carbonate ion. Many salts room insoluble in water, through solubility constants (Ksp) much less than 1 x 10-8, with the exception of lithium, sodium, potassium, and also ammonium carbonates.

Sodium lead carbonate is basic when dissolved in water (meaning it outcomes in a simple solution top top dissolution ), and sodium bicarbonate is weakly basic. These effects can be defined by since upon dissolution and also subsequent dissociation the the salt into its ions, the lead carbonate or bicarbonate ions will certainly react through H+ in the systems to kind H2CO3 (which has a low Ka value – i.e., is a weak acid). ~ above the other hand, carbon dioxide is weakly acidic (results in a contempt acidic solution) when dissolved in water. That’s since it reacts with water to produce H2CO3, a tiny amount of which will certainly dissociate into H+ and a bicarbonate ion.

Although the lead carbonate salts that most metals are insoluble in water, this is not true of the bicarbonate salts. Under transforming temperature or pressure, and in the presence of steel ions with insoluble carbonates, the equilibrium in between carbonate, bicarbonate, carbon dioxide, and also carbonic acid in water can result in the formation of insoluble compounds. This is responsible because that the buildup of scale inside pipes caused by difficult water.

Allotropes of Carbon

Various allotrope of carbon exhibit various properties and also find applications in a range of fields.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsDiamond is a well-known allotrope that carbon the exhibits hardness and high dispersion of light. It is the hardest known organic mineral and finds applications in cutting, drilling, and also jewelry, and as a potential semiconductor material.Graphene is a solitary layer the carbon atom arranged in one plane; great of graphene comprise graphite. Graphene is a product of interest as result of its high electron mobility and also its feasible applications in electronics.Fullerenes space a class of carbon allotropes in i m sorry carbon bring away the type of a hole sphere, ellipsoid, or tube. This course of materials includes carbon nanotubes, buckyballs, and also the newly discovered nanobuds.Key Termsallotropes: different forms of a chemistry element.

Allotropy is the property of part chemical aspects to exist in two or much more different forms, or allotropes, when discovered in nature. There are number of allotropes that carbon.

Allotropes of Carbon: allotrope of carbon: a) Diamond, b) Graphite, c) Lonsdaleite, d) C60 (Buckminsterfullerene or buckyball), e) C540, f) C70, g) Amorphous carbon, and also h) single-walled carbon nanotube, or buckytube.


Diamond is more than likely the most renowned carbon allotrope. The carbon atoms space arranged in a lattice, i beg your pardon is a sport of the face-centered cubic decision structure. It has actually superlative physical qualities, most of i beg your pardon originate indigenous the solid covalent bonding between its atoms. Every carbon atom in a diamond is covalently external inspection to 4 other carbons in a tetrahedron. These tetrahedrons together form a three-dimensional network that six-membered carbon ring in the chair conformation, permitting for zero bond -angle strain. This secure network of covalent bonds and also hexagonal rings is the reason that diamond is therefore incredibly strong as a substance.

As a result, diamond exhibits the highest possible hardness and also thermal conductivity of any type of bulk material. In addition, its strictly lattice stays clear of contamination by many elements. The surface of diamond is lipophillic and hydrophobic, which way it cannot get wet by water yet can it is in in oil. Diamonds perform not usually react with any type of chemical reagents, including strong acids and also bases. Provides of diamond encompass cutting, drilling, and grinding; jewelry; and in the semi- conductor industry.

Diamond and Graphite: Diamond and graphite are two allotropes of carbon — pure creates of the same facet that differ in structure.


Graphite is one more allotrope of carbon; unequal diamond, it is an electric conductor and a semi-metal. Graphite is the many stable type of carbon under typical conditions and is offered in thermochemistry as the typical state for specifying the heat of formation of carbon compounds. There are three species of natural graphite:

Crystalline flake graphite: isolated, flat, plate-like particles through hexagonal edgesAmorphous graphite: fine particles, the result of thermal metamorphism the coal; sometimes called meta-anthraciteLump or vein graphite: occurs in fissure veins or fractures, appears as growth of fibrous or acicular crystalline aggregates

Graphite has actually a layered, planar structure. In every layer, the carbon atoms space arranged in a hexagonal lattice through separation the 0.142 nm, and the distance in between planes (layers) is 0.335 nm. The 2 known forms of graphite, alpha (hexagonal) and also beta (rhombohedral), have actually very comparable physical properties (except that the layers stack slightly differently). The hexagonal graphite might be either flat or buckled. The alpha kind can be converted to the beta form through mechanical treatment, and the beta form reverts come the alpha type when that is heated above 1300 °C. Graphite have the right to conduct electricity as result of the large electron delocalization within the carbon layers; together the electron are cost-free to move, electrical energy moves with the plane of the layers. Graphite also has self-lubricating and also dry lubricating properties. Graphite has actually applications in prosthetic blood-containing materials and also heat-resistant materials as it deserve to resist temperatures approximately 3000 °C.

A solitary layer the graphite is called graphene. This material display screens extraordinary electrical, thermal, and physical properties. The is an allotrope of carbon whose structure is a single planar sheet of sp2 bonded carbon atom that room densely pack in a honeycomb decision lattice. The carbon-carbon bond size in graphene is ~0.142 nm, and also these sheets stack to type graphite with an interplanar spacing of 0.335 nm. Graphene is the basic structural facet of carbon allotrope such together graphite, charcoal, carbon nanotubes, and fullerenes. Graphene is a semi-metal or zero-gap semiconductor, permitting it to display high electron mobility at room temperature. Graphene is one exciting new class of material whose distinctive properties do it the subject of ongoing research in countless laboratories.

Amorphous Carbon

Amorphous carbon refers to carbon the does not have actually a crystalline structure. Even though amorphous carbon deserve to be manufactured, there still exist part microscopic crystals of graphite-like or diamond-like carbon. The properties of amorphous carbon count on the proportion of sp2 to sp3 hybridized bonds current in the material. Graphite consists purely that sp2 hybridized bonds, vice versa, diamond is composed purely that sp3 hybridized bonds. Products that space high in sp3 hybridized binding are described as tetrahedral amorphous carbon (owing to the tetrahedral shape formed by sp3 hybridized bonds), or diamond-like carbon (owing to the similarity of many of its physics properties to those that diamond).

Fullerenes and Nanotubes

Carbon nanomaterials make up another class the carbon allotropes. Fullerenes (also called buckyballs) space molecules of varying sizes composed totally of carbon that take on the kind of hollow spheres, ellipsoids, or tubes. Buckyballs and also buckytubes have been the topic of intense research, both because of their unique chemistry and also for their technological applications, specifically in products science, electronics, and nanotechnology. Carbon nanotubes space cylindrical carbon molecules the exhibit extraordinary strength and also unique electrical properties and are efficient conductors the heat. Carbon nanobuds room newly discovered allotropes in i m sorry fullerene-like “buds” room covalently attached to the outer side wall surfaces of a carbon nanotube. Nanobuds because of this exhibit properties of both nanotubes and fullerenes.

Glassy Carbon

Glassy or vitreous carbon is a course of carbon widely provided as one electrode product in electrochemistry and also in prosthetic devices and high-temperature crucibles. That most essential properties space high temperature resistance, hardness, low density, low electrical resistance, short friction, low thermal resistance, too much resistance to chemistry attack, and impermeability come gases and also liquids.

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Other Allotropes

Other allotrope of carbon incorporate carbon nanofoam, i beg your pardon is a low-density swarm assembly the carbon atoms strung together in a loose three-dimensional web; pure atomic and diatomic carbon; and also linear acetylenic carbon, i m sorry is a one-dimensional carbon polymer v the structure -(C:::C)n-.