Group 14 elements are called the carbon group of the modern periodic table. The members of this group are:
- Carbon (C)
- Silicon (Si)
- Germanium (Ge)
- Tin (Sn)
- Lead (Pb)
- Flerovium (Fl)*
*Flerovium is artificially produced.
Group 14 Elements
The most interesting element in this group is carbon. Carbon is the 17th most abundant element in the earth’s crust and 4th most abundant in the universe. It is found widely in nature. It is available in both free and a combined state. It is found in coal, diamond, and graphite in its elemental state. These compounds are formed in plants as well as in animals. Some of the very common molecules that contain carbon are carbon dioxide, Methane, alcohol, acetylene. Carbon is an important compound because of its two properties which are its unique electronic configuration and its small size.
π-bond’s are formed in carbon because of the overlapping of its p orbital. Due to the high-energy in bonds, these can facilitate the breakage and formation of bonds. Carbon is versatile in nature and it can be proved with the following example i.e Graphite is made up of carbon atoms and it is soft and slippery in nature whereas diamond is also an allotrope of carbon and is very hard, it is so hard that it is often used to cut hard materials. Its capacity to react with elements such as oxygen, hydrogen, chlorine, etc. gives rise to a large number of materials ranging from plastics to drugs.
Carbon-containing compounds are called as organic compounds. Organic carbon is found in plants and animals. Carbon exists in the form of two isotopes which are stable. The two isotopes are 12C and 13C. 14C is an unstable isotope which exists rarely.
Silicon plays an important part in the world of minerals and it the second most abundant element found in the earth’s crust. It is known for its versatility which is due to the stable tetrahedral configuration. It has its name derived from the Latin word ‘silex’ which means flint. The credit for its discovery goes to Berzelius in the year 1824. Silicon is a crystalline metalloid which is relatively inert in nature. In the presence of special conditions, it proves itself to be reactive. It is an important raw material in the manufacturing of glass cement, ceramics, concrete, and bricks. The application of silicon is found in spaceships, synthetic body parts just to name a few.
Germanium is a metalloid which exists in traces. It has five isotopes. It is used in improving the immune system of patients who are suffering from cancer. In its pure state, it is used in the manufacturing of transistors and other semiconductor devices. It has physical and chemical characteristics similar to silicon.
Tin is a soft malleable metal with a very low melting point which is mainly found in the Cassiterite ore. Sn is the chemical symbol of tin. Sn metal is non-toxic in nature but proves poisonous when it exists as organo-tin compounds. Tin has around 27 isotopes of which 9 are stable, 18 are unstable in nature. It has a wide range of uses such as a coating material to prevent corrosion, manufacturing tin cans, etc.
Lead is one of the oldest metals known to the human race. Pb is the chemical symbol of lead. It is a soft, dull, silvery gray metal which can be beaten into sheets. It is widely used in car batteries, lead crystal glass, etc. It is usually obtained by a process called roasting. Lead is harmful to human beings as even the small content can cause nerve damage to a human.
Flerovium which is also called element 114 is a highly radioactive metal, of which only a few atoms have ever been made and lives for only a short time. Flerovium can be formed in nuclear reactors.
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