Carbon Family (Encyclopedia of Science)
The carbon family consists of the five elements that make up Group 14 of the periodic table: carbon, silicon, germanium, tin, and lead. The family is particularly interesting because it consists of one nonmetal (carbon), two metals (tin and lead), and two metalloids (silicon and germanium). (A metalloid is an element that has some of the properties of both metals and nonmetals.)
The atoms of all Group 14 elements have four electrons in their outermost energy level. In spite of this fact, the elements have less in common physically and chemically than do the members of most other families of elements.
Carbon is one of the most remarkable of all chemical elements. It occurs in all living organisms. In fact, the field of organic chemistry, which began as the study of the chemistry of plants and animals, can also be called the chemistry of carbon compounds. In addition, carbon and its compounds are of critical importance to the world as sources of energy. Coal, oil, and natural gashe so-called fossil fuelsll consist of pure carbon or carbon compounds. Finally, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide,
(The entire section is 2441 words.)
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