General Question

The_K_Fairy's avatar

What kind of bond does a carbon atom make?

Asked by The_K_Fairy (102points) October 20th, 2009

I’m struggling to find a description of the structure of carbon as a single molecule, rather than carbon dioxide.

Also what is the structural formula of carbon?

Help will be muchly appreciated :)

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12 Answers

Beta_Orionis's avatar

Carbon is a basic element.

The_K_Fairy's avatar

@Beta_Orionis Do you know if it makes covalent bonds or single bonds?
I need complete descriptions of Oxygen, Nitrogen, Hydrogen and Carbon. Carbon is the only one i’m having problems with

nikipedia's avatar

A bond has to be formed between two things. So the bond carbon forms depends on what it’s bonding to.

It sounds to me like you might not understand exactly what a bond, an element, an atom, and a molecule are. I would start by defining those if I were you.

The_K_Fairy's avatar

@nikipedia Supposing its bonding with another carbon?

It’s for an assignment. I need to describe the structure of a carbon molecule. I’ve already described the atomic structure of it, but apparently thats not enough

The_K_Fairy's avatar

I’m going to put it can make up to 4 covalent bonds and hope for the best

Lightlyseared's avatar

Carbon isn’t a molecule in the same sense as carbon dioxide.

For example, in diamond carbon forms four covalent bonds to four other carbons in a tetrahedron. Each of these carbon atoms forms fours covalent bonds and so on. The important thing to note is that every carbon atom is attached to every other carbon atom, unlike in a molecule where each molecule forms a distinct unit.

In graphite carbon forms hexagonal latices which are layered on top of each other.

Then there are a whole host of carbon nanomaterials which have a load of weird and wonderful structures.

Jayne's avatar

James Bond

patg7590's avatar

I’m going to put it can make up to 4 covalent bonds and hope for the best

Translation:where the hell did all the smart Flutherites go?

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@patg7950 Well, I had to get to class, so I couldn’t follow up my answer. :P

As you said, it can make up to 4 covalent bonds. Carbon structures come in several varieties as you probably know [graphite, diamond, and fullerene (which of course, is a sub category with more differentiation)]

Graphite is made of weakly bonded layers of strongly bonded “sheets” of carbon in a hexagonal cell structure. My understanding is that each atom is double bonded once, and single bonded twice to achieve this formation.

Diamond is made of a rigid, structure in which one “cell” looks like a tetrahedral carbon structure, where the central carbon is bonded to four others, and all carbon atoms are evenly spaced.

Fullerene covers carbon formations, such as carbon nanotubes (basically a sheet of graphite connected to itself, or spherical fullerenes (buckyballs) (Yes, from Buckminster Fuller) whose structures contain a mix of hexagonal and pentagonal rings.

Lastly, amorphous carbon (like charcoal or soot) has no regular structure.

I think there might be at least one other structure, but I’m forgetting.

virtualist's avatar

…..use the wiki… carbon bonds for a start

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