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Bonding in Carbon Atoms:

Carbon forms covalent bonds. 

Carbon has 4 valence electrons

  • The size of carbon atom is very small
    So the distance between nucleus and valence electrons is very less.
  • Due to this, the nucleus exerts a lot of force on these electrons

A CARBON ATOM - Teachoo.jpg

  • Hence, it is not possible to remove 4 electrons from a carbon atom and form C 4+ because an extremely large amount of energy will be required for the same.

 

On the other hand, a carbon atom cannot gain 4 electrons and form C 4- because the nucleus having 6 protons will not be able to hold 4 extra electrons i.e., 10 electrons.

  • Hence, it shares electrons with other atoms to achieve noble gas configuration and form covalent bonds

6 PROTONS CANNOT HOLD 10 ELECTRONS - Teachoo.jpg

How strong is the C-C bond?

  • Since the size of a carbon atom is small, the distance between nucleus and valence electrons is less . (Valence electrons are the ones found in the outermost shell of an atom).
  • Hence, the nucleus is able to exert a lot of pressure on these valence electrons.
  • Therefore, we can summarize that bonds made by small atoms are stronger as compared to those made by bigger atoms so carbon forms strong bonds.

 

Carbon can form upto 4 covalent bonds at once

  • Meaning, its valency is 4 .
  • This is known as tetravalency. 

       

Example:    

Carbon forms a bond with 4 Hydrogen atoms to form CH 4 .

  • Here, each Hydrogen shares one pair of electrons with the carbon atom. 
  • This is called a single bond
  • Carbon has 4 valence electrons whereas hydrogen has 1
  • In order to attain stability , the outer shell of Carbon must have 8 electrons and hydrogen must have 2 electrons.
  • Therefore, one carbon atom forms 4 covalent bonds with 4 hydrogen atoms as shown below:

CARBON SHARING ELECTRONS WITH HYDROGEN - Teachoo.jpg

           

Carbon forms 4 covalent bonds with 2 oxygen atoms to form Carbon Dioxide (CO 2 ):

A Double bond is a covalent bond formed between 2 atoms which share 2 pairs of electrons with each other.

  • Carbon has 4 valence electrons whereas oxygen has 2
  • In order to attain stability , the outer shell of both atoms must have 8 electrons
  • Therefore, one carbon atom forms 4 covalent bonds or 2 double bonds with two oxygen atoms as shown below:

COVALENT BONDING IN CO2 - Teachoo.jpg

Carbon forms triple bonds with Nitrogen to form HCN 

A Triple Bond is a covalent bond formed between 2 atoms which share 3 pairs of electrons with each other. 

  • Carbon has 4 valence electrons whereas Nitrogen has 3
  • In order to attain stability , the outer shell of both atoms must have 8 electrons
  • Therefore, one carbon atom forms 3 covalent bonds or 1 triple bond with the nitrogen atom as shown below:
  • Since Carbon’s 1 valency is still left , Carbon shares it with hydrogen to form HCN.

COVALENT BONDING IN HCN - Teachoo.jpg

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CA Maninder Singh is a Chartered Accountant for the past 12 years and a teacher from the past 16 years. He teaches Science, Economics, Accounting and English at Teachoo