We are going to use the Periodic Table to talk about a very important element, which is Carbon, one of the stars of modern chemistry because is present in almost every compound around us. Carbon itself is the principal protagonist of the part of Chemistry called Organic Chemistry.
Carbon is located in Group 4A of the Periodic Table of the Elements, that means this Element will be forming compounds sharing until 4 electrons.
Carbon and Organic Chemistry are present in different kind of materials for example in paints, rubbers, oils (and all petrochemical derivates), plastics (polymers of carbon), and even in Steel forming alloys with metals.
In live organisms Carbon is part of the skin, hair, blood (as amino acids and proteins), fats (or lipids), carbohydrates such us glucose, DNA, RNA, vitamins, and carbon dioxide, that is why is important for Pharmaceutical and Food industries.
Carbon is also present in graphites (as in pencils) and diamonds.
Organic Chemistry is based in an element called Carbon.
How Carbon is present in all different compounds?
There are two principal characteristic of this Element, that make him different and special from other Elements:
1st) When form compounds, they share electrons, that means that they don’t take or give electrons (they do not create ionic bonding). They form covalent bondings
2nd) They are able to share until 4 electrons. Most Elements win or take less than 3 electrons.
Now, we’ll try to see How Carbon creates compounds
We know that Carbon has 4 electrons in its valence shell, these electrons are in orbitals, one electron in one orbital.
The orbitals are around Carbon, not forming 90º or 180º among them, but 109.5º in all cases.
To complete each orbital we need 1 electron, that can be provided for an Hydrogen for example. If that is the case, one Carbon will need 4 Hydrogens, and the final molecule is Methane, CH4.
A better representation of, methane, is this. One Carbon surrounded by 4 Hydrogens at the same distance and same angle among them.
When Carbon wants to create a bigger molecule, it replaces one Hydrogen for another Carbon and complete the other bondings with other atoms, as Hydrogens or another Carbon.
For example, when in a molecule we have 3 Carbons, then we will need 8 Hydrogens, and in that case the molecule is called Propane.