How many valence electrons does carbon(C) have?

The last shell of carbon has four electrons, so the valence electrons of carbon have four. Carbon participates in the formation of bonds through valence electrons. This article discusses in detail the valence electrons of carbon.

What are the valence electrons of carbon(C)?

The total number of electrons in the last shell after the electron configuration of carbon is called the valence electrons of carbon. The valence electron is the total number of electrons in the last orbit.

The valence electrons determine the properties of the element and participate in the formation of bonds. The sixth element in the periodic table is the carbon. That is, the atom of the carbon element has a total of six electrons.

Valence electrons of carbon
Valence electrons of carbon

The electron configuration of carbon shows that the last shell of carbon has a total of four electrons. That is, we can easily say that the valence electrons of carbon are four. There is an article on this site detailing the electron configuration of carbon, you can read it if you want.

How many electrons and protons does a carbon atom have?

The nucleus is located in the center of the atom. Protons and neutrons are located in the nucleus. The atomic number of carbon is 6. The atomic number is the number of protons. That is, the number of protons in the carbon is 6. Electrons equal to protons are located in a circular shell outside the nucleus. That is, carbon atoms have a total of six electrons.

How to determine the valence electron of carbon?

Now we will know how to easily determine the valence electron of carbon. The valence electron has to be determined by following a few steps. The electron configuration is one of them. It is not possible to determine the valence electron without electron configuration.

Knowing the electron configuration in the right way, it is very easy to determine the valence electrons of all the elements. There is an article published on this site detailing the electron configuration, you can read it if you want. However, this article briefly discusses electron configuration.

Scientist  Niels Bohr was the first to give an idea of the atom’s orbit. He provided a model of the atom in 1913. The complete idea of the orbit is given there. The electrons of the atom revolve around the nucleus in a certain circular path. These circular paths are called orbit( shell). These orbits(shell) are expressed by n. [ n = 1,2 3 4 . . .]

Scientist  Niels Bohr was the first to give an idea of the atom’s orbit. He provided a model of the atom in 1913. The complete idea of the orbit is given there. The electrons of the atom revolve around the nucleus in a certain circular path. These circular paths are called orbit( shell). These orbits(shell) are expressed by n. [ n = 1,2 3 4 . . .]

K is the name of the first orbit(shell), L is the second, M is the third, N is the name of the fourth orbit(shell). The electron holding capacity of each orbit is 2n2.

Now,

  • n = 1 for K orbit. The electron holding capacity of K orbit is 2n2 = 2 × 12 = 2 electrons.
  • For L orbit, n = 2. The electron holding capacity of the L orbit is 2n2 = 2 × 22 = 8 electrons.
electron configuration
Electron Configuration

In addition to this method, electron configuration can be done through sub-orbits. The German physicist Aufbau first proposed an idea of electron configuration through sub-orbits. The Aufbau method is to do electron configuration through the sub-energy level. These sub-orbitals are expressed by ‘l’.

The Aufbau principle is that the electrons present in the atom will first complete the lowest energy orbital and then gradually continue to complete the higher energy orbital. These orbitals are named s, p, d, f. The electron holding capacity of these orbitals is s = 2, p = 6, d = 10 and f = 14.

However, valence electrons can be easily identified by arranging electrons according to the Bohr principle. Now we will learn how to determine the valence electron of carbon.

Step-1: Determining the total number of electrons

First we need to know the total number of electrons in the carbon atom. To know the number of electrons, you need to know the number of protons in carbon. And to know the number of protons, you need to know the atomic number of the carbon element.

To know the atomic number we need to take the help of a periodic table. It is necessary to know the atomic number of carbon elements from the periodic table.

Position of carbon in the periodic table
Position of carbon in the periodic table

The atomic number is the number of protons. And electrons equal to protons are located outside the nucleus. That is, we can finally say that there are electrons equal to the atomic number in the carbon atom. From the periodic table, we see that the atomic number of carbon is 6. That is, a carbon atom has a total of six electrons.

Step-2: Need to do electron configuration

Step 2 is very important. In this step, the electrons of carbon have to be arranged. We know that carbon atoms have a total of six electrons. The electron configuration of carbon shows that there are two electrons in the K shell and four in the L shell.

That is, the first shell of carbon has two and the second shell has four electrons. The electron configuration of carbon through the sub-orbit is 1s2 2s2 2p2.

electron configuration of carbon
Electron configuration of carbon

Step-3: Determining the valence shell(orbit) and calculate total electrons

The third step is to diagnose the valence shell. The last shell after the electron configuration is called the valence shell. The total number of electrons in a valence shell is called a valence electron.

The electron configuration of carbon shows that the last shell of carbon has four electrons. Therefore, the valence electrons of carbon are four. In this way, the valence electrons of all the elements can be determined.

Determination of the valency of carbon

The ability of one atom of an element to join another atom during the formation of a molecule is called valency(valence) . The number of unpaired electrons in the last orbit of an element is the valency(valence) of that element. As we know, the electron configuration of carbon atom is normally 1s2 2s2 2p2.

Valence(valency) is determined from the electron configuration of the element in the excited state. The electron configuration of carbon in excited state is C*(6) = 1s2 2s2 2px1 2py1. Here, the electron configuration of carbon shows that 2 unpaired electrons exist. In this case, the valency of the carbon atom is 2.

valency of carbon
Valency and valence electrons of carbon

When the carbon atom is excited more than this, the electron configuration of carbon changes again. The 2nd electron configuration of a carbon atom in excited state is C*(6) = 1s2 2s1 2px1 2py1 2pz1Here, 4 unpaired electrons exist in the carbon atom. So, in this case, the valency (valence) of the carbon atom is 4.

The last electron configuration of carbon(C) implies that the maximum unpaired number of electrons in a carbon atom is 4. Therefore, the valence of a carbon atom is 4. Therefore, the valency (valence) of carbon atoms is 2, 4. 

Ionic properties of carbon atoms

The electron configuration of carbon atom is 1s2 2s2 2p2. Carbon is an anion element. When a charge-neutral atom receives an electron and turns it into a negative ion, it is called an anion. The last orbit of a carbon atom has 4 electrons. The carbon atom first takes 2 electrons and then 2 more electrons to fill the octave and become an anion.

C + (2e) → C2–

C2–  + (2e) → C4–

Carbon atoms take on electrons and turn into negative ions. Therefore, carbon is an anion element.

Compound formation of carbon by valence electrons

Carbon participates in the formation of bonds through its valence electrons. We know that the valence electrons in carbon are four. This valence electron participates in the formation of bonds with atoms of other elements.

Carbon atoms form bonds by sharing electrons with hydrogen atoms. The electron configuration of hydrogen shows that hydrogen has only one electron. Four hydrogen atoms and one carbon atom make CH4 compounds by sharing electrons.

As a result, the carbon atom completes its octave and acquires the electron configuration of the neon. On the other hand, hydrogen acquires the electron configuration of helium. Therefore, a carbon atom shares electrons with 4 hydrogen atoms to form the CH4 compound through covalent bonding.

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