Carbon - Key terms





ALLOTROPES:

Different versions of the same element, distinguished by molecular structure.

AMORPHOUS:

Having no definite structure.

CARBOHYDRATES:

Naturally occurring compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. These are primarily produced by green plants through the process of photosynthesis.

CELLULAR RESPIRATION:

The process whereby nutrients from plants are broken down in an animal's body to create carbon dioxide.

COVALENT BONDING:

A type of chemical bonding in which two atoms share valence electrons.

CRYSTALLINE:

A term describing a type of solid in which the constituent parts have a simple and definite geometric arrangement that is repeated in all directions.

DOUBLE BOND:

A form of bonding in which two atoms share two pairs of valence electrons. Carbon is also capable of single bonds and triple bonds.

ELECTRONEGATIVITY:

The relative ability of an atom to attract valence electrons.

ION:

An atom or group of atoms that has lost or gained one or more electrons, and thus has a net electric charge.

IONIC BONDING:

A form of chemical bonding that results from attractions between ions with opposite electric charges.

ISOMERS:

Substances which have the same chemical formula, but which are different chemically due to differences in the arrangement of atoms.

ISOTOPES:

Atoms that have an equal number of protons, and hence are of the same element, but differ in their number of neutrons. This results in a difference ofmass. Isotopes may be either stable or unstable. The latter type, known as radioisotopes, are radioactive.

OCTET RULE:

A term describing the distribution of valence electrons that takes place in chemical bonding for most elements, which usually end up with eight valence electrons.

ORGANIC CHEMISTRY:

The study of carbon, its compounds, and their properties. (Many carbon-containing oxides and carbonates are not considered organic, however.)

PHOTOSYNTHESIS:

The biological conversion of light energy (that is, electromagnetic energy) to chemical energy inp lants.

RADIOACTIVITY:

A term describing a phenomenon whereby certain isotopes known as radioisotopes are subject to a form of decay brought about by the emission of high-energy particles. "Decay" does not mean that the isotope "rots"; rather, it decays to form another isotope until eventually (though this may take a long time) it becomes stable.

SINGLE BOND:

A form of bonding in which two atoms share one pair of valence electrons. Carbon is also capable of double bonds and triple bonds.

TETRAVALENT:

Capable of bonding to four other elements.

TRIPLE BOND:

A form of bonding in which two atoms share three pairs of valence electrons. Carbon is also capable of single bonds and double bonds.

VALENCE ELECTRONS:

Electrons that occupy the highest principal energy level in an atom. These are the electrons involved in chemical bonding.