How many bonds can carbon make?

1 Answer
May 3, 2017

Carbon can form either 2 or 4 bonds.


The ground state electron configuration is # 1s^2 2s^2 2p^2 #

In this ground state Carbon has 2 unpaired p electrons which can form 2 bonds.

An example of this is CO carbon monoxide.
: C = O: This leaves Carbon with six electrons in its outer shell.

eight electrons is a more stable structure so CO is not a stable structure.

Carbon generally forms hybrid orbitals #sp^3# which allows Carbon to form 4 bonds

An example of this is # CO_2# Carbon dioxide.

O:C:O This leaves Carbon with eight electrons in its outer shell

Eight electrons is a more stable structure.

Carbon forms 2 and 4 bonds.