Why don't two carbon atoms bond with each other ?

Why don't two carbon atoms bond with each other ?

Well, the valency is 4, so, like both the atoms will be having 4 valence electrons which they can share . So, why doesn't carbon have 4 bonds ?

2 Answers

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  • xezlec
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It's all about shape.

    Carbon does have 4 bonds. However, they are shaped sort of like a cross. They all stick out in different directions. In order to bond all 4 from one carbon atom to another, you would have to bend them all around to one side. Since the 4 electrons strongly repel each other*, since they have the same charge, squeezing them together on one side like that would be very hard -- so hard that bonding them to another carbon atom wouldn't be a strong enough thing to hold them all together. The 4 electrons would just spring back apart again and break the bond.

    More detail: each valence electron in Carbon flies around in a shape called a "p orbital". This sticks out from the nucleus a little more than the simple sphere shape (the "s orbital") that you might be picturing.

    *I put the asterisk above because it's actually more complicated than this due to quantum mechanics, but no need to discuss that in detail here.

  • jopa
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    because that would require a quadruple bond with cant happen due to the arrangement of p orbitals not lining up

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