What is the octet rule of carbon?

Feb 8, 2014

The octet rule is the understanding that most atoms seek to gain stability in their outer most energy level by filling the s and p orbitals of the highest energy level with eight electrons.

Carbon has an electron configuration of $1 {s}^{2} 2 {s}^{2} 2 {p}^{2}$ this means that carbon has four valence electrons $2 {s}^{2} 2 {p}^{4}$. Carbon seeks out four additional electrons to fill the p orbital and gain the stability of a noble gas, $1 {s}^{2} 2 {s}^{2} 2 {p}^{6}$.

However, now carbon has 10 electrons and only 6 protons making it a -4 charge anion ${C}^{- 4}$.

Although, carbon can also lose four electrons and become stable at $1 {s}^{2}$ and become ${C}^{+ 4}$.