Inorganic chemistry of carbon

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There is an immense number of distinct compounds that contain carbon atoms. Some sources suggest that this number is close to almost ten million known.[1] However, it is possible that the number is greater.

Organic compounds

Every organic compound contains at least one atom of carbon. The number of these compounds is immense and the described number of defined compounds is close to 10 million. However, an indefinitely larger number of such compounds are theoretically possible.

There are several organic compounds sometimes considered as inorganic: NH2COONH4, COCl2, CSCl2, CS(NH2)2, CO(NH2)2

Inorganic compounds

Template:Seealso There is a rich variety of carbon chemistry that does not fall within the realm of organic chemistry and is thus called inorganic carbon chemistry.

Compounds with other nonmetals

Perhaps the best known are the oxides of carbon, carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). Other known oxides are the uncommon carbon suboxide, C3O2, the uncommon dicarbon monoxide, C2O and even the exotic carbon trioxide (CO3).

Other (binary) compounds of carbon with nonmetals include: CS2, β-C3N4, CBr4, CCl4, CF4, COF2, COS, H2C2B10H10,

Compounds with metals

Carbonates and bicarbonates

The only known acid that is derived from the oxides of carbon is the carbonic acid (H2CO3). Upon monodeprotonation of this acid, bicarbonates are formed, which can be further derpotonated to carbonates.

Here is a list of carbonates and bicarbonates: NH4HCO3, (NH4)2CO3, BaCO3, CdCO3, Cs2CO3, Ca(HCO3)3, CaCO3, Ce2(CO3)3, CoCO3, CuCO3, FeCO3, PbCO3, La2(CO3)3, Li2CO3, MgCO3, MnCO3, NiCO3, KHCO3, K2CO3, Ag2CO3, NaHCO3, Na2CO3, SrCO3, ZnCO3


Carbonyls are coordination complexes between transition metals and carbonyl ligands. Metal carbonyls are complexes that are formed with the neutral ligand CO. These complexes are covalent. Here is a list of some carbonyls: Cr(CO)6, Co2(CO)8, Fe(CO)5, Mn2(CO)10, Mo(CO)6, Ni(CO)4, W(CO)6,

Compounds contanining the CN group

Other types of inorganic compounds include inorganic salts and complexes of the carbon-containing polyatomic ions cyanide, isocyanide, cyanate, thiocyanate.

NH4SCN, CaNCN, Co(SCN)2, CuCN, (HCNO)x NH2CN HCNO, (CN)2, BrCN, ClCN, HCN, KOCN, KCN, K3Fe(CN)6, K4Fe(CN)6, KSCN, Fe4(Fe(CN)6)3, AgCN, NaOCN, NaCN, Na3Fe(CN)5NO, NaSCN, (SCN)2,


Carbides are binary compounds of carbon with an element that is less electronegative than it. B4C, CaC2 SiC, TaC, TiC, WC,


The known inorganic chemistry of the allotropes of carbon (diamond, graphite, and the fullerenes) blossomed with the discovery of buckminsterfullerene in 1985, as additional fullerenes and their various derivatives were discovered. One such class of derivatives is inclusion compounds, in which an ion is enclosed by the all-carbon shell of the fullerene. This inclusion is denoted by the "@" symbol. For example, an ion consisting of a lithium ion trapped within buckminsterfullerene would be denoted Li+@C60. As with any other ionic compound, this complex ion could in principle pair with a counterion to form a salt.


There are several alloys that contain carbon of which the best known alloy is carbon steel (see category:steels)). Besides steel, other alloys based on iron and carbon are: anthracite iron, cast iron, pig iron, wrought iron, but also spiegeleisen (which contains also manganese). Stellite is an alloy of carbon with cobalt, chromium and tungsten. To some degree, these alloys could be considered carbides.

Formation of carbon compounds

In organic chemistry there are 3 important elements: Carbon, Oxygen and Hydrogen. Each of these elements have different kinds of bonds. Carbon atom has tetravalent bonds, Oxygen atoms divalent bonds and Hydrogen monovalent bonds.


  1. Chemistry Operations (December 15, 2003). "Carbon". Los Alamos National Laboratory. Retrieved 2007-11-21. Check date values in: |date= (help)

Organic Chemistry by Abraham William Simpson

See also

Template:ChemicalBondsToCarbon Template:Oxides of carbon

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