What are the two properties of carbon which lead to the huge number of carbon compounds we see around us?
Carbon has a very versatile nature which allows it to form a huge number of compounds.
This is mainly because of two properties unique to the C-atom:
- Catenation : It is the property of carbon atoms to form bonds with each other.
Carbon atoms have the ability to form bonds with other carbon atoms .
- These carbon atoms connect atom to atom to form long chains . This property is known as Catenation .
- Catenation is an extremely useful property as it gives rise to a large number of Carbon compounds.
Carbon has 4 valence electrons .
- It can neither donate all 4 of its valence electrons, nor accept 4 electrons from another to achieve Noble gas configuration
- Hence, it shares electrons with other atoms to form covalent bonds .
- Since its valency is 4 Carbon can form upto 4 covalent bonds at once .
- This is known as tetravalency. .