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Carbon Chemical Formula – Structure, Properties, Uses, Sample Questions

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  • Last Updated : 03 Jul, 2022

The study of organic substances, which contain covalent bonds between carbon atoms, and their structures, characteristics, and reactions is known as organic chemistry. Their structural formula is determined by the study of structure. Physical and chemical parameters are studied, and chemical reactivity is assessed to comprehend behaviour. The chemical synthesis of natural goods, medications, and polymers, as well as the study of individual organic molecules in the lab and through theoretical (in silico) research, are all included in the study of organic reactions.


Group 14 of the Periodic Table contains the nonmetallic chemical element carbon (C). Although it makes up only around 0.025 per cent of the Earth’s crust, carbon is not particularly abundant in nature, but it produces more compounds than all the other elements put together. In 1961, the isotope carbon-12 was chosen to take the role of oxygen as the reference standard for determining the atomic weights of all other elements. Carbon-14, a radioactive isotope, is used in radiocarbon dating and radiolabeling.

Structure of Carbon

  1. The atom’s nucleus, or atomic number, is made up of 6 protons.
  2. Referring to the Periodic Table of Elements Atomic Weight: (12.0107 g/mol)  
  3. Atomic Symbol: C
  4. Carbon is assigned to the second period of the fourth major group in the periodic table of elements. It follows that two electron shells, containing a total of six electrons, encircle the carbon atom’s centre. This shows that it has four valence electrons that can form bonds.


Properties of Carbon

Since charcoal has the largest surface area of any carbon-containing substance, it is also the most reactive. Other, denser, less reactive forms include diamond, graphite, and coal.

The first electron shell of carbon has two electrons, whereas the second one contains four of the available eight spaces. Carbon has two electron shells. When atoms make bonds, the electrons in their outermost shell are shared. Since carbon has four open spaces in its outer shell, it can form an Octet shape by bonding with four additional atoms.

Carbon creates patterns. It may bind to itself to form polymers, which are extremely durable long chains. A carbon atom has the ability to construct long chains with one, two, or three carbon atoms by creating up to four covalent connections. These chains could either be unbroken (straight) or branch out. A ring can develop when the two ends of a chain come into contact.

Physical Properties


Solid (Graphite, Diamond)



Melting Point


Boiling Point


Electrical Conductivity

Graphite easily conducts electricity whereas diamond does not.

Number of isotopes


Most common isotopes

carbon-12 (6 protons, 6 neutrons and 6 electrons) and carbon-13 (6 protons, 7 neutrons and 6 electrons)

Chemical Properties

Due to their ability to join together, carbon atoms stand out among all other atoms found in nature. It is the characteristic that gives a carbon atom its special capacity to construct lengthy chains of carbon atoms by forming covalent bonds with other carbon atoms.

They create tetravalent bonds, in which one carbon atom joins forces with four additional carbon atoms. They have a repeating structure because this structure can be repeated indefinitely without affecting the stability of the bonds or the compounds created.

Chains can develop into branches, which then develop into sub-branch, which develop into rings, and so on. Currently, there are two categories of carbon compounds, the first of which is open-chain or aliphatic molecules. 

  • Combustion Reaction: The combustion reaction is the process of burning carbon or a carbon compound in the presence of more oxygen than necessary to produce heat and light.

2C2H6+7O2 → 4CO2+6H2O+ energy

  • Oxidation Reaction: Carbon is a powerful reducing agent. It converts metal-containing oxides into their respective metals. Water turns into hydrogen and metallic sulphates become sulphides.

2MgO+C → CO2+2Mg

  • Addition Reaction: Alkenes and alkynes, which are organic molecules with numerous bonds (=, bonds) and are unsaturated, go through additional processes to become saturated. Reagent reaction occurs at the double- or triple-bonded carbon atoms during reagent addition.                  



 Uses of Carbon

  1. Carbon differs from other elements because it can form firmly bonded chains with hydrogen atoms between them. The majority of these hydrocarbons, which are naturally harvested as fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), are used as fuels. A little but significant portion serves as a feedstock for the petrochemical industries, which make polymers, textiles, paints, solvents, and plastics, among other things.
  2. Metals are melted using coke made from coal and charcoal, two forms of impure carbon. In the iron and steel sectors, it is very significant.
  3. Pencils, electric motor brushes, and furnace linings all employ graphite. Purification and filtration are accomplished with activated charcoal. Both kitchen extractor hoods and respirators contain it.
  4. As a very strong and lightweight material, carbon fibre has a wide range of applications. Currently, it can be found in tennis rackets, skis, fishing poles, rockets, and aeroplanes.
  5. Rocks are chopped and holes are drilled using industrial diamonds. For surfaces like razor blades, diamond films are utilised as protection.
  6. Hardware breakthroughs in the electronics sector and nanotechnology, in general, have been changed by the more recent discovery of carbon nanotubes, other fullerenes, and atom-thin sheets of graphene.

Sample Questions

Question 1: Where is carbon found in nature?


The following major sinks are where carbon is stored on Earth: 

  1. Organic molecules in living and extinct organisms found in the biosphere; 
  2. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; 
  3. Organic matter in soils; 
  4. Fossil fuels and sedimentary rock deposits like limestone, dolomite, and chalk; and 
  5. Dissolved atmospheric carbon dioxide in the oceans and calcium carbonate shells in marine organisms.

Question 2: Is Carbon present in our body?


Our bodies do contain carbon, after all, after oxygen, it is the second most prevalent element in the human body. Our body contains carbon to a degree of 18.5 percent.

Question 3: What is carbon used for?


Coal, which is mostly composed of carbon, is used as a fuel. Pencil tips, high-temperature crucibles, dry cells, electrodes, and lubricants are all made of graphite. Due to their extreme hardness, diamonds are also utilised in the manufacturing process for cutting, drilling, grinding, and polishing.

Question 4: Why Does Carbon Not Form Ionic Bonds?


It might pick up four electrons, creating a C4 anion. However, the six-proton nucleus would have trouble retaining 10 electrons, or four extra electrons. A C+4 cation could arise if it loses four electrons. However, it would take a lot of energy to knock out four electrons, leaving a carbon cation with six protons in its nucleus and just two electrons remaining which is also not an ideal condition. Thus, carbon does not fond any ionic bond.

Question 5: Is carbon dioxide toxic to humans?


As a gas, CO2 won’t harm you because it is not toxic. It’s important to keep in mind that carbon dioxide is an essential component of the environment. CO2 drives the human respiratory system. Our health is only impacted when the percentage of CO2 rises after a particular level.

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