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Last updated date: 20th Apr 2024
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About Fullerene

Compounds of Carbon are everywhere. They are in the pencil that you write with, they are in the table that you have your book on and they are also in the same body that is keeping you alive. They are everywhere. One very interesting topic in the study of carbon compounds is the one of Fullerene. As you all might already know from the first time you read about carbon compounds, fullerene is an allotrope of Carbon. And that it has a very peculiar structure, to say the least.


Fullerene resembles the structure of a football. The entire compound looks exactly like the ball that the world likes to play within a sport that is celebrated everywhere we go. Fullerene not only has a very interesting structure but it also has very interesting properties. Its properties and other details are what we will be focussing on through this article from Vedantu. We will be making sure that by the end of this article, you realize what fullerene is and what exactly it is like and why we want you to appreciate this amazing carbon allotrope. 


But before you start reading this entire article, we would like to ask you to get your notepad and the pen out so that you can start taking notes along the way and make the most out of this article. Vedantu wants you to understand this concept fully in the very first go because this not only will save your time but will also provide you with a very good grip on the knowledge that you will apply in the next chemistry exam that you take. So sit back, read and understand this brilliant article on the most beautiful allotrope of carbon, Fullerene (no offense graphite).


Fullerene is one of the allotropic forms of carbon. The other name of fullerene is buckminsterfullerene. In this allotropic form of carbon, the carbon molecules are arranged in a series and form a cage-like structure. This structure of fullerene is hollow. In this allotropic form when the carbon molecules are arranged in a cylindrical form, they form a tube-like structure. These tube-like structures are known as carbon nanotubes.


Fullerene Structure

In nature, fullerenes, especially the C60 sphere, are highly symmetrical. Fullerenes have a similar structure to graphite, which is made up of a sheet of connected hexagonal rings, but they have pentagonal (or sometimes heptagonal) rings that prevent the sheet from being planar. Buckyballs and buckytubes are terms used to describe them depending on their shape. Cylindrical fullerenes are referred to as nanotubes. C60 is the most common fullerene, with no two pentagons sharing an edge. A C60 molecule's average carbon-carbon bond length is 1.44 angstrom.

Properties of Fullerene

Physical Properties of Fullerene

  • Fullerene shows variation in behaviour and structure on changing the temperature. At a higher temperature, the fullerene is converted into the C70 form. 

  • Fullerene shows the change in the structure under different pressures.

  • The ionization enthalpy of fullerene is 7.61 electron volts.

  • The electron affinity of fullerene is 2.6 to 2.8 electrons volts.


Chemical Properties of Fullerene

  • Fullerene (C60) resembles an electrophile in chemical reactions.

  • Fullerene can act as an electron acceptor group. It can easily accept three electrons or more. Therefore, it can behave as an oxidizing agent.

  • Fullerenes are doped with alkali or alkaline earth metals so that they can exhibit superconductivity properties.

  • Ferromagnetism is a property of fullerene.

  • Carbon molecules abound in fullerene. As a result, it's very soluble in organic solvents.


Types of Fullerene

  1. Buckminsterfullerene

  2. Endohedral Fullerene

  3. Herbal fullerenes

  4. Buckyball Clusters

  5. Nanotubes 

  6. Megatubes 

  7. Linked bucky ball and chain Dimers

  8. Herbal fullerenes


Some of the Forms of Fullerenes are Discussed Below

Buckyball Clusters

These forms of fullerenes are the smallest member of the fullerene group. Its structural formula is C20. These fullerenes are unsaturated versions of dodecahedra.


These forms of fullerene are hollow tubes of very small dimensions, having single or multiple walls. These types of fullerenes play an important role in the electronics industry.


These are larger in diameter than the nanotubes. These types of fullerenes are prepared with walls of different thicknesses. It is potentially used for the transport of a variety of molecules of different sizes.

Linked Ball and Chain Dimer

In this form of fullerene, two buckyballs are linked by a carbon chain.


Buckminster fullerene is the most common form of fullerene. It exists in C60 form. 


Uses of Fullerene

The use of buckminsterfullerene is based on its chemical properties and its physical properties. Let us discuss the use of fullerene.

  • Fullerene is used as conductors.

  • It can be used as an absorbent for gases.

  • Fullerene is used as a lubricant.

  • Some forms of fullerenes are used in making cosmetics-related materials.

  • Carbon nanotubes are made up of graphene sheets.

  • Some forms of fullerenes are used in biomedical applications.

  • Fullerenes are used in making carbon nanotubes-based fabrics and fibers.


Did You Know?

  • Fullerenes are of different types C60, C70, C80, and C90. It can exist in various forms, depending on the number of carbon atoms present in the molecule.

  • The fullerene was discovered by a scientist named Buckminster. Therefore, it is named buckminsterfullerene.



Fullerene or the Buckminsterfullerene is one of the most intriguing concepts that you will come across in your pursuit of studying and understanding what carbon compounds are. We hope that through this article you were able to understand everything that this compound of carbon is about and was able to figure out why it is the way it is. Fullerene has a lot of interesting properties and we hope that you were able to enjoy learning from this article as much as we enjoyed making it for you. The team at Vedantu thanks you for the faith that you have put in us and we hope that this article was helpful.

FAQs on Fullerene

1. Explain the Structure of Fullerene.

Fullerenes, especially the C60 sphere, are highly symmetrical. Fullerenes are made up of a sheet of connected hexagonal rings, similar to graphite, except they have pentagonal (or sometimes heptagonal) rings that prevent the sheet from being planar. Depending on their form, they are referred to as buckyballs or buckytubes. Nanotubes are fullerenes that are cylindrical. The most popular fullerene is C60, which has no two pentagons with the same tip. The average carbon-carbon bond length in a C60 molecule is 1.44 angstrom.

2. Explain the Properties of Fullerene.

The Properties of fullerene are discussed below:

Physical Properties of Fullerene are:

  • As the temperature increases, the behaviour and structure of fullerene change. The fullerene is converted to the C70 form at a higher temperature.

  • Under various stresses, the structure of fullerene shifts.

  • Fullerene has an ionization enthalpy of 7.61 electron volts.

  • Fullerene has an electron affinity of 2.6 to 2.8 electron volts.

Chemical Properties of Fullerene are:

  • In chemical reactions, fullerene (C60) resembles an electrophile.

  • Fullerene can serve as an electron acceptor. It can easily accept three or more electrons. As a consequence, it can act as an oxidizing agent.

  • To achieve superconductivity, fullerenes are doped with alkali or alkaline earth metals.

3. What are some other allotropes of carbon?

Carbon has a lot of allotropes. Allotropes of carbon are compounds that have similar chemical properties but it is their physical orientation that differs. There are four main allotropes of carbon. The four main allotropes of Carbon are Diamond, graphite, fullerene and graphene. These compounds have similar chemical properties but due to a change in their physical properties, they end up having some differences in their entire existence. 

4. Where can I find a video on carbon and its compounds?

Vedantu has pledged to deliver nothing but the best resources to its students. This also includes delivery in everything that our students want. Every single topic that they need knowledge on can be found on the website and the official Vedantu app. We have made a detailed video on the concept of compounds of carbon that can be watched on our YouTube channel. 

5. Is the topic of carbon compounds difficult?

What can make a big difference in your strategy to study carbon compounds is when you change the approach with which you are studying carbon compounds. By studying it in a way where you want to enjoy the chapter, carbon compounds are extremely fun, but if you are studying them just for your test and to get good marks, they can be very tough. The answer is, no. And yes. If you study the chapter and associate everything to real life then it has to be the easiest chapter that you will ever study, but it will be the opposite if you are studying just for the marks.