# Carbon atoms have four electrons in their outer shell. This means that a single carbon atom can form up to how many bonds with other atoms?

May 22, 2017

Four.

#### Explanation:

The octet rule states that atoms can fill their outer shells with up to 8 electrons (a full shell of 8 is the most stable configuration).

Since Carbon only has 4 of its outer electron slots (or valence electrons) full, it has room to make bonds with 4 other atoms, assuming they are all single bonds. This will fill Carbon's valence shell and give it all 8 electrons it needs to be stable.

One example of this is methane (${\text{CH}}_{4}$), in which carbon bonds with four hydrogen atoms to fill in its outer shell to 8 valence electrons.

There are a few exceptions to the octet rule (Hydrogen, Helium, Boron, and some transition metals), but Carbon is not one of them, and so it follows the octet rule normally.