Q. Determine the Uniqueness of Carbon?
Carbon forms a very large number of compounds--over 4,000,000. This is far more than the number of compounds of all other elements put together which is less than 100,000. Carbon has this unique property of forming so many compounds because of the following reasons:
Each carbon atom can form four single covalent bonds at a time.
Carbon forms strong single, double and triple covalent bonds with itself.
The above diagram illustrates the carbon bonding that occurs in three compounds which each have two carbon atoms. In the first compound, ethane, the two carbon atoms form a single bond. However, in the compounds ethylene and ethyne, the two carbon atoms form double and triple bonds, respectively.
Carbon forms stable, long C-C chains that are straight, branched, or in the form of "rings:"