Why are the number of carbon compounds large?

With many other elements, carbon forms numerous compounds; these compounds are termed as carbon compounds. Methane (CH4) is the fundamental compound formed by carbon. The compound formed by the combination of carbon and hydrogen is known as a hydrocarbon.

Reason for number of carbon compounds

Carbon forms numerous compounds because of the following reasons:

  • Tetra valency – Carbon atoms readily form covalent bonds with the other atoms.
  • Catenation – Two carbon atoms readily form covalent bonds, and this bond is more stable than the bonds formed by the other elements.
  • Carbon atoms have varying bond order and hybridisation. That is, they can form double or triple bonds. 
  • The electronegativity of the carbon atom is average.
  • Carbon atoms can share not only a single electron with another atom to form a single bond, but they can also share two or three electrons, forming a double or triple bond.

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