Versatile Nature of Carbon
It is estimated that there are about three million carbon compounds whose formulae are known to chemists which is much greater than the compounds formed by all the other elements put together.
The factors due to which this is possible in the case of carbon are:
The property of carbon elements due to which its atoms conjoin or link with one another to form long carbon chains is called catenation. These compounds may have long chains of carbon, branched chains of carbon or even carbon atoms arranged in rings.
In addition, carbon atoms may be linked by single, double or triple bonds.
The atomic number of carbon is 6 and its electronic configuration is 2,4. has a valency of 4, it can bond with four other atoms of carbon or atoms of other monovalent elements. Carbon forms compounds with oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulphur, chlorine and many other elements and these compounds have specific properties which depend on the elements other than carbon present in the molecule.
Strong Bonds due to Small Atomic Size:
The bonds that carbon forms with most other elements are very strong due to its small size making these bonds very stable. This enables the nucleus to hold on to the shared pairs of electrons strongly. The bonds formed by elements having larger atoms are much weaker.