Carbon and Its Compounds

Carbon and Its Compounds

Even if we have studied the subject of chemistry in the middle classes in our schools then we would have already come across the chapter on carbon and its various compounds.

In the previous articles, we have already learnt about the concept of periodic tables and the fact that the elements are arranged in the way of exhibiting properties rather than the alphabetical order which is the most usual order. So, carbon is the most important element in the whole periodic table and its importance can be measured from the fact that this element has got a whole chapter about it, while most elements do not even mention a merit here. 

About carbon

Carbon is one of those elements that has been listed very early in the periodic table. The order in which the elements have been placed in the periodic table is called the Atomic number. Atomic numbers in a funny way can also be called the roll numbers of the elements. The atomic number of carbon is six and it is one of the very few elements in the periodic table which are tetravalent. Now, let us discuss the tetravalency in detail. 

Concept of valency 

The valency of any element is the number which tells you how many atoms or what is the number of atoms that any element can share, give or take. Now, from the above definitions it is clear that carbon is one of those very few elements that can give and take four atoms. Now this is a very positive and a rare quality that any element can have. Carbon is the first and the lightest element in its group, so its ability to be tetravalent is because it has the ability to form compounds with so many elements. This is the property that makes carbon so important and being so mentioned about elements in the whole periodic table. Now in the further section we will talk about the allotropes of carbon. 

Allotropes of carbon 

Carbon is one of those very rare elements on the whole periodic table that has the ability to form allotropes. Allotropes of any element can be defined as the other and the various forms of that same element that it is an allotrope of. 

The first allotrope of carbon is called the Fullerene. The full name of Fullerene is called the Buckminsterfullerene. The reason that it has such a long name is because it was discovered by an American architect, Buckminster Fuller. This allotrope is also called C sixty and the reason behind is that it is made up of sixty atoms and the most interesting fact about that is the fact that it was discovered in the shape of a football. The reason for this shape attracted most scientists towards itself. But, the sad part is that still not many things are known about this particular allotrope of carbon.

Another important and rare fact about this allotrope is that even though it has such an abrupt shape, it can assume the shape of a lot of other shapes as well like spheres, cylinders and cubes. 

The other two allotropes of carbon have other names for their forms and the names of those forms are the crystalline and the amorphous forms of the various allotropes of carbon.  

Crystalline and Amorphous Forms of Carbon 

The other two allotropes of carbon apart from the fullerenes are called the crystalline and the amorphous forms. The amorphous form of carbon is called coal and it is the most found or the most abundant form of carbon that is available on the Earth. As discussed in the previous articles, most of the nonmetals in the periodic table are found on the surface of the Earth. The most common fact about amorphous allotropes is the fact that all these allotropes are black in color and some of the examples of the amorphous allotropes of carbon are coal, charcoal, coke, petroleum black, gas carbon and carbon black. 

Now the crystalline allotropes of carbon are one of those types which are the most expensive and the rarest to find. These include the very expensive diamond and graphite. Mostly, the graphite that is found in our daily lives is the graphite on the nib of the pencil. Diamonds are one of the most famous and sought after substances in the whole world. In some of the very rare cases, the fullerenes are also considered a part of the crystalline form of carbon. 

Isotopes of Carbon 

Isotopes are the type of changes in which the atomic number of the element remains the same but the mass number of the element changes according to the situation. The two most famous isotopes of carbon are the twelve carbon (C-12) and the fourteen carbon(C-14). Now, as the name suggests the first isotope of carbon is the one which has the mass number twelve and the second isotope is the one which has the mass number fourteen. 

Now the major differences between these two isotopes are that only the isotope with the mass number twelve has the capacity to occur while the other isotope having the mass number fourteen is radioactive and does not occur on the surface in reality. 


Carbon is one of the most important elements in the subject of chemistry. If we are to gather all the information about his element in our heads, it is suffice to say that we can easily become a master in this subject.