How many elements shows catenation property?  

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gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Catenation is the property of an element, wherein the atom binds to like atoms. The most common example of catenating element is carbon. It's atoms can bind with each other to form large chains. This is the reason we have large number of carbon-based compounds, more commonly known as organic compounds. Carbon atoms can form covalent bonds with other carbon atoms and each atom is capable of forming upto four covalent bonds. Apart from carbon, other elements capable of catenation include, silicon, sulfur, boron, phosphorous, etc. However, none of these elements form as long a chain as carbon. For example, sulfur naturally occurs as S8 molecule. Similarly, silicon chains are also possible, but with up to 8 silicon atoms. The catenating chains formed by non-carbon elements result in inorganic polymers.

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