Carbon is small and has four valence electrons; these factors combine into a unique structure that allows it to easily make a chain of carbon atoms. It creates covalent bonds — the strongest bonds between atoms.Know More
A covalent bond is one where atoms share electrons to form a bond. This type of bond is stronger than an ionic bond where electrons are donated to another atom. Valence electrons are carried by an atom in the outer shell, which can be shared with another atom.
Because of carbon's four valence electrons, it can even bond with itself two or three times. These bonds are all covalent bonds, creating a strong chain of atoms. Because each bond has eight valence electrons, it also fulfills the octet rule, which establishes that a molecule containing certain elements (such as carbon or nitrogen) is more stable if it has eight valence electrons.
Similarly, carbon also bonds well with other atoms. In fact, scientists know of at least 10 million compounds that include carbon, according to the Jefferson Lab. The study of these compounds is what is known as organic chemistry. In fact, carbon is the element found with the most frequency in living things on Earth, which is why scientists say life is carbon based. Carbon is essential for life on Earth.Learn more about Atoms & Molecules
The gaseous compound carbon monoxide, or CO, is formed when one atom of carbon chemically combines with one atom of oxygen during incomplete combustion. When complete combustion occurs, carbon dioxide, CO2, is created where one atom of carbon reacts with two atoms of oxygen.Full Answer >
Carbon is important because most living creatures on Earth are composed of carbon, according to The State University of New Jersey website. Living things need carbon to grow, live and reproduce.Full Answer >
Carbon is a non-metal. It is a chemical element, listed on the periodic table as atomic number 6. It is abundantly found throughout the universe and is primarily found in coal deposits.Full Answer >
Proteins are made up of chains of small organic molecules called amino acids such as glycine, alanine, lysine or tryptophan. Amino acids contain an amine functional group, which contains a nitrogen atom, possibly one or two atoms of hydrogen, and a carboxylic acid group, which has the formula -COOH.Full Answer >