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Some Important Compounds of Carbon and Silicon

Last Updated : 20 Nov, 2021
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Silicon belongs to the same family of elements as Carbon in the periodic table, but its chemical reactivity differs significantly from that of similar carbon compounds. In its most stable form, silicon, like carbon, can easily attach to four substituents. Silicon, on the other hand, is more electropositive than carbon, does not form stable double bonds, and may undergo a variety of unique chemical reactions that improve its efficiency as an adhesion promoter component. It is possible to manufacture a silicon molecule with dual reactivity, that is, a molecule with both organic and inorganic reactivities.


Carbon a is nonmetallic and tetravalent, meaning that it can form covalent chemical bonds with four electrons and is part of Group 14 of the periodic table. 

Carbon accounts for only about 0.025% of the Earth’s crust. Carbon is the 15th most prevalent element in the Earth’s crust and the universe’s fourth most abundant element by mass. 

Carbon is a prevalent element in all known life because of its abundance, remarkable diversity of organic compounds, and extraordinary ability to form polymers at common Earth temperatures. Carbon is a chemical element with the atomic number 6 and the symbol C. 

Properties of Carbon 

  • Carbon is a one-of-a-kind element. It can show up in a variety of ways. Coal and soot are two examples of pure forms of carbon.
  • It is a soft, dull grey or black colour.
  • Charcoal is one of the most important carbon compounds, and it is formed when carbon is heated in the absence of air.
  • It exists in a variety of allotropic forms. Diverse versions of an element with different physical and chemical properties are known as allotropes.
  • The density of various forms of carbon varies according to their origin. There are pure forms of carbon and non-pure forms of carbon, such as coal, which is a mixture of carbon and hydrogen.

Compounds of Carbon

When it comes to carbon, we already have a good understanding of its compounds. Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are essential carbon molecules, to be sure. We know how they’re made, how they’re put together, and how they’re used. Let’s have a look at some complicated carbon compounds in this section. We can also refer to them as organic compounds.

  • Ethanol (C2H5OH)

Ethanol is also known as ethyl alcohol. It is commonly referred to as alcohol or spirit. It primarily consists of alcoholic beverages. This organic compound is used in the production of medicines such as tincture iodine, cough syrup, and so on. However, pure ethanol should never be consumed because it can be fatal.

  • Ethanoic Acid (CH3COOH)

Ethanoic acid is also known as acetic acid. It has a melting point of 290K. Because this compound freezes in the winter, we call it glacial acetic acid. The vinegar we drink is an acetic acid solution in water that ranges from 5% to 8%. It’s also used to keep pickles fresh.

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)

Carbon dioxide is a chemical element present in the atmosphere. It is a gas at room temperature. One carbon atom and two oxygen atoms make it up. Carbon dioxide is emitted when humans and animals exhale. It is a greenhouse gas found in trace amounts in the Earth’s atmosphere. When it is solid, it is known as dry ice. Carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere as a result of human activity. When hydrocarbon fuels are burned, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. During combustion or burning, carbon from fossil fuels reacts with oxygen in the air to produce carbon dioxide and water vapour.

Some important Functions of Carbon dioxide are as follows:

  1. Carbon is the primary component of proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates. Carbon’s molecular structure enables it to bond with a wide range of elements in various ways. The carbon cycle depicts how carbon moves through the living and non-living components of the environment.
  2. Carbon dioxide is the most significant greenhouse gas emitted by human activity. Carbon is the primary component of proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates. Carbon’s molecular structure enables it to form bonds with a wide range of elements in various ways. The carbon cycle depicts the movement of carbon in the world, including both living and non-living carbon.
  3. Carbon dioxide is required for both photosynthesis and respiration, two essential plant and animal processes. Green plants convert carbon dioxide and water into food compounds such as glucose and oxygen. This process is known as photosynthesis.
  • Methane (CH4)

When natural methane reaches the surface of the atmosphere, it is referred to as atmospheric methane, and it can be found both beneath the seafloor and beneath the ground. It has no colour and is odourless or has a sweet oil-like odour. It is a non-toxic, flammable gas. It is a tetrahedral molecule with four C-H bonds that are equivalent. Colonic anaerobes produce it. 


Silicon is a tetravalent metalloid and semiconductor that is a hard, brittle crystalline solid with a blue-grey metallic lustre. It belongs to Group 14 in the periodic table. It is not overly reactive. Its oxides belong to the silicate anions family. 

Silicon is the 8th most common element in the universe by mass, but it is extremely rare in the Earth’s crust as a pure element. It is most abundant in space as various forms of silicon dioxide (silica) or silicates in cosmic dust, planetoids, and planets.

Silicon is a chemical element with the atomic number 14 and the symbol Si. Quartz, cristobalite, and tridymite are crystalline forms of silica that are interconvertible when heated to the right temperature. Silicon dioxide is a covalent compound that is tetrahedrally linked to four oxygen atoms.

Properties of Silicon

  • Silicon may be found in combination with other elements, such as oxygen.
  • Silicates are rocks that have both silicon and oxygen.
  • It is a greyish crystal with a metallic appearance after it has been decontaminated.
  • Although it appears to be made of metal, it is not.

Compounds of Silicon 

The most abundant compounds in the earth’s crust are silica and silicates (around 95%). Silicon dioxide, also known as silica, exists in a variety of crystallographic forms. Quartz and cristobalite are two crystalline forms of silica that are interconvertible when heated to the appropriate temperature. Silicon dioxide is covalent in nature and is tetrahedrally attached to four oxygen atoms.

  • Silicon dioxide (SiO2)

Silicon Dioxide is the chemical name for silicon oxide. Silica, Silicic oxide, and silicic acid are other names for it. It can be found in nature as quartz. It is obtained as a transparent to grey powdered form, either crystalline or amorphous. It is an odourless and flavourless compound.

Uses of SiO2 are:

  1. In the construction industry, silicon dioxide is used to make concrete.
  2. It is used in hydraulic fracturing in its crystalline form.
  3. It is used in the production of glass as well as the production of elemental silicon.
  4. In powdered foods such as spices, it is used as an anti-caking agent.
  5. In juice, beer, and wine, it is used as a fining agent.

Health hazards of SiO2 are: Silica is non-toxic when consumed orally. Inhaling finely divided crystalline silica dust can cause bronchitis, lung cancer, or silicosis due to dust lodgement in the lungs. Fine silica particles inhaled in sufficient quantities increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

  • Silicones 

It’s a class of organosilicon polymers with repeating units. The starting materials for the production of silicones are alkyl or aryl substituted silicones. As we all know, silicones are surrounded by a nonpolar alkyl group that repels water in nature. They are resistant to oxidation and chemicals and have high thermal stability. This compound has a wide range of applications because it is used as an electrical insulator as well as in surgical procedures.

Sample Questions 

Question 1: Is methane gas harmful to humans?


Methane is not toxic on its own, but it can be lethal when combined with other gases. Methane displaces oxygen, resulting in asphyxiation. It can cause dizziness and headaches, but these symptoms often go unnoticed until the brain signals the body to gasp for air.

Question 2: Is methane a fossil fuel?


Fossil fuels range from volatile materials with low carbon-to-hydrogen ratios (such as methane) to liquids (such as petroleum) to nearly pure carbon-composed non-volatile materials such as anthracite coal. Methane can be found in hydrocarbon fields alone, in combination with oil, or as methane clathrates.

Question 3: What are the benefits of carbon dioxide?


According to studies, increased carbon dioxide concentrations increase photosynthesis, which promotes plant growth. Although higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are beneficial to plants, they are also the primary cause of climate change.

Question 4: Why is carbon dioxide important to the human body?


Internal respiration in the human body necessitates the presence of carbon dioxide. Internal respiration is a mechanism that transports oxygen to body tissues while also removing carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide protects the blood’s pH, which is necessary for life.

Question 5: How is silicon dioxide produced?


The majority of silicon dioxide is obtained through mining activities such as sand extraction and quartz purification. Chemical processing is required to make a more acceptable product (for example, more reactive or fine-grained) purer or otherwise. Quartz is suited for a wide range of applications. Silica fume is produced as a byproduct of hot processes such as ferrosilicon processing.

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