An essay on the various properties of carbon.
Carbon is probably the most unique element on the periodic table. For this reason it is studied separately from all the other elements. It forms chains rings and polymers. It has four valence electrons and forms strong covalent bonds.
Unlike most other elements, carbon can form all three types of covalent bonds. These include single, double, and, triple bonds.
The forms it can take are chains, rings, and polymers. The chains are lines of carbon atoms with a hydrogen atom on each end and attached to each carbon atom on the sides. These are called hydrocarbon chains. The ring could be thought of as a hexagon with a carbon atom on each turn. This is the cyclo structure. It is also a hydrocarbon. The polymers could be thought of as large molecules that go on without end. They appear as rows of carbon atoms chained together with hydrogen molecules sticking off the side.
Carbon can produce both fast and slow reactions. An example of a slow reaction is CH3CH2CH3+Br2→CH3CH2CH2+Br. This is a reaction between a hydrocarbon chain containing three carbon atoms with two atoms of bromine. This type of reaction is subtractive. Then there are the fast reactions. An example of one of these reactions is CH3CHCH2→CH3CHBrCH2Br. This is the opposite of a subtractive reaction.
The history of the study of carbon chemistry goes back to the mid 1800s when the German chemist Herman Kolhe, produced acetic acid artificially from hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen atoms. This acid comes from vinegar which originally comes from grapes. This is an organic substance. Therefore, carbon chemistry became known as organic chemistry.
Later on in the same century, William Perkin began making synthetic dye and artificial odors with carbon.
Then in the early 1900s, Leo Baekeland made the earliest plastic. He called this bakelite.
The numbers of new carbon compounds discovered since then has rocketed. Chemists of Perkins’ day knew of twelve thousand carbon compounds. By the time of Baekeland, they knew of one hundred fifty thousand carbon compounds. By the beginning of the 2000s, three million had been discovered. Now it grows by one hundred thousand per year.