Carbon Group Elements

Group 14 Elements

A carbon group element consists of six chemical elements that make up group 14 elements of the periodic table, Carbon family elements contain carbon (C), silicon (Si), germanium (Ge), tin (Sn), lead (Pb), and flerovium (Fl). The properties of the carbon group periodic table

and other compounds in that family are intermediate between the properties related to the elements of the adjacent boron and nitrogen group elements.

The electronic configurations (ground state) of carbon group elements show that each of them has four electrons in its outermost shells. If n represents the outermost shell (where n is 2 for carbon, 3 for silicon, and so on), then these four electrons are represented by the symbols ns2np2. Elements belonging to Group 14  have oxidation states of +4 and +2 for the heavier elements due to the inert pair effect.

This page deals with details of the periodic properties of carbon family elements, Let’s discuss carbon group numbers and briefly discuss the individual properties of carbon, silicon, germanium, tin, lead, and flerovium.


Carbon Group Periodic Table

All the carbon family elements are familiar in daily life either in the pure elemental form or in the form of compounds, except germanium and the artificially produced flerovium, they are not present naturally, also except for silicon, none is abundant in the Earth’s crust.

Carbon can form a different variety of compounds both in the plant and animal kingdoms. Silicon and its minerals form a fundamental component of the Earth’s crust; silica (silicon dioxide) is also called sand. 

Germanium can form some minerals and is mostly found in small concentrations with the mineral zinc blende and in coals. Even though germanium is considered one of the rarer elements, its importance is in its properties like semiconductors.

Some carbon-containing molecules are carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). 


Carbon

Carbon is the 4th most abundant common element present on earth’s crust and occurs naturally as anthracite (a type of coal), graphite, and diamond. 

Symbol: C

Atomic Number: 6

Atomic Mass: 12.0107 u

It is mostly used in organic chemistry, as it is the distinguishing feature of an organic compound. 

And is also unique among the elements because of its ability to form strongly bonded chains, with hydrogen atoms. It is considered to be the "backbone" of biology, as all life forms on earth are carbon-based. This is due to its qualities of small size and its unique electron configuration. Since carbon atoms are small in size, their p-orbital electrons overlap considerably and enable π bonds to form. Common molecules that are carbon-based are carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4).

Impure carbon which is in the form of charcoal obtained from wood and coke obtained from coal is used in metal smelting. It is commonly used in the iron and steel industries.

Graphite is used in pencils and used to make brushes in electric motors and in furnace linings. Activated charcoal is used for purification and filtration and can be found in respirators also.

Carbon fibre also finds its application as a very strong, lightweight, material. It is currently used in tennis rackets, skis, fishing rods, rockets, and airplanes.


Silicon

Symbol: Si

Atomic Number: 14

Atomic Mass: 28.0855 u

Silicon is the 2nd most common element which is found in the earth's crust (after oxygen) and is considered the backbone of the mineral world. It is classified as neither metal nor nonmetal but is a metalloid. Silicon is inert, primarily reacting with halogens. Silicon plays a much smaller role in biology,  It may have functioned as a catalyst in the formation of the earliest organic molecules Plants highly depend on silicates in order to hold nutrients in the soil, where their roots can absorb them. Silicon (primarily found in silica, SiO2, molecule) has been used for millennia in the creation of ceramics and glass. if carbon can be considered as the backbone of human intelligence, silicon can be considered as the backbone of artificial intelligence. Silicon can be found in sandy beaches and is also a major component of concrete and brick.

  • Being a semiconductor, it is used to make transistors.

  • It is most commonly used in computer chips and solar cells.

  • It can be used while production of fire bricks.

  • Most waterproofing systems use silicones as a component.

  • Silicon can be used in many moulds and moulding compounds.

  • It is also one of the components of ferrosilicon which is an alloy commonly used in the steel industry.

Germanium 

Symbol: Ge

Atomic Number: 32

Atomic Mass: 72.64 u

It is a rare element that is used in the manufacturing of semiconductor devices. The physical and chemical properties of germanium are somewhat similar to those of silicon. It is gray-white in colour and it forms a crystal structure.

Germanium acts as a semiconductor that is doped with arsenic and other elements and can be used as a transistor in electronic applications.

The oxides of Germanium have a high index of dispersion and refraction that makes it good to use in wide-angle camera lenses & objective lenses for microscopes.

It can be used as an alloying agent in contact with fluorescent lamps and as a catalyst.

They are used in infrared spectroscopes because both germanium and germanium oxides are transparent to infrared radiation.


Stannum

Symbol: Sn

Atomic Number: 50

Atomic Mass: 118.71 u

Tin is a soft, malleable metal that has a low melting point. It has two solid-state allotropes at regular temperatures and pressures and is denoted by α and β. At higher temperatures (above 13°C), tin exists as white tin and is often used in the formation of alloys. At lower temperatures, it can be transformed into gray tin, it loses its metallic properties and turns powdery. 

Tin shows a chemical similarity with both of its neighbours in group 14 i.e germanium and lead and has two main oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable in +4 state.

  • Gray tin can be used to plate iron food cans in order to prevent them from rusting. Tin is malleable, ductile, and crystalline. It has 27 isotopes of which 9 are stable and 18 are unstable. It is a superconductor at low temperatures. 

  • It can be used in the process of tin plating, coating and polishing as it has a high resistance to corrosion

  • It is used in the soldering of steel as it possesses high magnetic strengths and lower melting points

  • It can be used in the manufacture of other alloys like bronze and copper

  • It is used as a reducing agent and as a dyeing agent for glass, ceramics, and sensors.

  • It is used as an anti-fouling agent for boats and ships In the shipping industry.

  • It is employed in some products in the form of stannous chloride (SnCl2)in dental applications.

  • It finds its applications in the electrodes of batteries like Li-ion batteries.

  • It can be widely used in the manufacture of food containers that are made of steel.

This element in organic form is most dangerous to human health. It can cause severe effects in humans such as Eye and skin irritations, Headaches, Sickness, dizziness, Breathlessness, Severe sweating along with many other problems.


Plumbum

Symbol: Pb

Atomic Number: 82

Atomic Mass: 207 u

Lead a very soft, silvery-white, or grayish metal is very similar to tin in that it is a soft, malleable metal with a low melting point. It was widely used in water and sewage pipes, Lead is toxic to human health, especially to children. Even very low-level exposure can cause nervous system damage and can prevent proper production of haemoglobin (the molecule in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen through the body), Lead is stable in an oxidation state of +2 or +4. Its oxides can have multiple industrial uses like oxidizing agents, such as cathodes in lead-acid storage cells. It is used in heavy and industrial machinery, sheets, and other parts made from lead compounds which can be used to dampen noise and vibration.


Flerovium 

Symbol: Fl

Atomic Number: 114

Atomic Mass: 289 u

Flerovium (Fl) was discovered in 1998 by scientists in Dubna. It is radioactive and very short-lived, The long-lasting isotope of flerovium has an atomic weight of 289 and a half-life of 0.97 seconds. Three other isotopes of flerovium have half-lives of 0.52, 0.51, and 0.16 seconds respectively.


Conclusion

Here, we have studied carbon family elements and some of their uses and properties, Different elements of this group are carbon (C), silicon (Si), germanium (Ge), tin (Sn), lead (Pb), and flerovium (Fl). Carbon is commonly used almost everywhere whereas Flerovium is radioactive in nature.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Carbon Belongs to Which Group? Why Carbon Can Form a Very Large Number of Compounds?

Answer: Carbon belongs to group 14 element. It is the only element that can form a bond with many different compounds because each carbon atom can form four chemical bonds to other atoms and the carbon atom having a small size is just the right fit in as parts of very large molecules. This property is called catenation. 

Q2. Explain the Properties of Carbon:

Answer: The three properties of carbon are:

(a) Catenation: Carbon has a unique tendency to form bonds with other atoms of carbon, giving rise to large molecules. This property is termed catenation.

(b) Tetravalency: Carbon has a valency of four, so it is capable of bonding with four other atoms of carbon or atoms of some other monovalent element.

(c) Isomerism: The compounds with identical molecular formulas but different structural formulas are called isomers and the property is known as isomerism.

Q3. Write Some Physical Properties of Diamond?

Answer: Some physical properties of diamond are:

1. It is extremely hard has a very high melting point.

2. It has a high relative density and is transparent to X-rays.

3. It has a high refractive index and is a bad conductor of electricity.

4. It is a good conductor of heat and is insoluble in all solvents.