Common Properties of Carbon Compounds
Carbon is important because it can form so many compounds, more than all the other elements combined.. The study of carbon compounds, both natural and synthetic, is called organic chemistry. Carbon compounds have some interesting properties in common:
- The majority of Carbon compounds do not dissolve in water
- Carbon based-compounds do not react quickly at room temperature but react strongly at high temperatures (burning).
- Carbon compounds form combustible tissues in plants, oil, natural gas etc. and can be used as a fuel - Hydrocarbon fuels (e.g. natural gas) Combustion of fuels (e.g. carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide)
- Compounds that contain both carbon and nitrogen give off a really pungent smell, like rotten eggs, in liquid form. Compounds that contain both carbon and nitrogen are also very unstable and can be made into explosives such as TNT and nitro-glycerine
Carbon and Water Reaction
The majority of Carbon compounds do not dissolve in water. Important water reactions - Dehydration Synthesis involves taking water (one O and two H) whereas Hydrolysis involves adding water. When carbon dioxide reacts with water a weak acid is formed.
Carbon Dioxide Reaction - Carbon Reaction with Oxygen
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. Under normal conditions it is stable, inert and non-toxic. Carbon Dioxide is produced when carbon-containing materials burn completely, and it is a product of fermentation and animal respiration. On freezing, Carbon dioxide hardens into a white, snow-like mass known as dry ice, thus bypassing the liquid state. Carbon dioxide dissolves into organic solvents such as acetone, benzene, chloroform and alcohols. When mixed with magnesium it gives magnesium oxide and carbon. With oxygen and a metallic element, carbon forms many important carbonates, such as calcium carbonate (limestone) and sodium carbonate (soda). Strong heating is required to make carbon powder burn in oxygen. Carbon dioxide that subsequently formed can turn lime water (calcium hydroxide solution) milky.
Carbon + Oxygen —> Carbon Dioxide
Carbon Monoxide Reaction
Carbon monoxide is an oxide that does not form salts and does not react under ordinary conditions with water, acids, or alkalis. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an extremely poisonous gas. The automobile emissions of Carbon monoxide is a dangerous pollutant that is contributing to the greenhouse effect and global warming. It is very slightly soluble in water and burns in air with a blue flame, producing carbon dioxide. Carbon monoxide is also formed (with oxygen) by decomposition of carbon dioxide at extremely high temperatures. At high pressure and raised temperatures it reacts with hydrogen, in the presence of a catalyst, to form methanol.
When carbon is combined with hydrogen it forms a molecule called a 'hydrocarbon'. Hydrocarbons are very important because they are used for energy and fuel for example Petroleum and lubricants. In the word “hydrocarbon” the “hydro” part refers to hydrogen, not to water - there is no water in hydrocarbons, they consist of only hydrogen and carbon. The names of the first ten hydrocarbons are detailed in the following list. All of these hydrocarbons have single bonds and this is indicated by the ending of their names - "ane".
- Number 1 - Methane - The name originates from 'methyl' meaning wine
- Number 2 - Ethane - The name originates from 'ether' meaning upper air
- Number 3 - Propane - The name originates from 'pro' meaning "in front of"
- Number 4 - Butane - The name originates from 'butyr' meaning butter
- Number 5 - Pentane - The name originates from 'penta' meaning five
- Number 6 - Hexane - The name originates from 'hexa' meaning six
- Number 7 - Heptane - The name originates from 'hepta' meaning seven
- Number 8 - Octane - The name originates from 'octa' meaning eight
- Number 9 - Nonane - The name originates from 'nona' meaning nine
- Number 10 - Decane - The name originates from 'deca' meaning ten
Calcium Carbonate Reaction
Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is a white crystalline salt occurring in limestone, chalk, pearl and marble and is used in the production of lime and cement. Calcium carbonate is largely insoluble in water. However, it is quite soluble in water containing dissolved carbon dioxide, combining with it to form a bicarbonate. Such a reaction on limestone results in the formation of stalactites and stalagmites in caves.
Some examples of a chemical reaction include most commonly burning, fermentation, tarnishing and rusting. There are several different types of Chemical reaction which have been detailed below:
- Substitution reaction
- Double displacement reaction
- Acid-base reaction
- Combustion reaction
- Combination reaction
- Decomposition reaction
Refer to our Chemical Reactions article for additional facts and information providing the different types of reactions, examples of reaction and the Rate of a Chemical Reaction.