How does carbon bond with other atoms?

Carbon has a number of unique properties that influence how it behaves and how it bonds with other atoms:

1 ) Carbon has four valence electrons. Carbon can thus form a maximum of four bonds with other atoms as depicted in Figure 1.

figure 1: Carbon is tetravalent – it can form bonds with four other atoms
figure 1: Carbon is tetravalent – it can form bonds with four other atoms

2 ) Carbon can bond strongly with other carbon atoms forming single (—), double (=) or triple (≡) bonds as shown in Figure 2.

figure 2: An example of carbon chains
figure 2: An example of carbon chains

3 ) Carbon can also form bonds with other atoms such as hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and halogens. Figure 3 show two organic compounds. The first one contains a hydroxyl ion (alcohol), and the second one contains a halogen (haloalkane).

figure 3: Carbon can bond with other elements (for example, oxygen and halogens)
figure 3: Carbon can bond with other elements (for example, oxygen and halogens)

4 ) Carbon can bond to form straight and branched molecules, as shown in Figure 4.

figure 4: An example of straight and branched organic compounds
How does carbon bond with other atoms?
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