Chemical Properties of Carbon Compound





Saturated hydrocarbons are fairly unreactive and are inert in the presence of most reagents. However, in the presence of sunlight, chlorine is added to hydrocarbons in a very fast reaction. Chlorine can replace the hydrogen atoms one by one. It is called a substitution reaction because one type of atom or a group of atoms takes the place of another.

A number of products are usually formed with the higher homologues of alkanes.

CH4 + Cl2 → CH3Cl + HCl  (in the presence of sunlight)



alcohols are converted to carboxylic acids in presence of oxidizing agents KMnO4(Potassium permanganate) or acidic potassium dichromate.
some substances are capable of adding oxygen to others.

These substances are known as oxidising agents.



Unsaturated hydrocarbons add hydrogen in the presence of catalysts such as palladium or nickel.

You must have seen advertisements stating that some vegetable oils are ‘healthy’. Animal fats generally contain saturated fatty acids which are said to be harmful for health. Oils containing unsaturated fatty acids should be chosen for cooking.



Carbon, in all its allotropic forms, burns in oxygen to give carbon dioxide along with the release of heat and light. Most carbon compounds also release a large amount of heat and light on burning.

CH4 + 2O2 → ­ CO2 + 2H2O + heat and light

Saturated hydrocarbons generally burn in air with blue and non sooty flame.

Why do substances burn with or without a flame?

Have you ever observed either a coal or a wood fire? If not, the next time you get a chance, take close note of what happens when the wood or coal starts to burn. You have seen above that a candle or the LPG in the gas stove burns with a flame. However, you will observe the coal or charcoal in an ‘angithi’ sometimes just glows red and gives out heat without a flame. This is because a flame is only produced when gaseous substances burn. When wood or charcoal is ignited, the volatile substances present vapourise and burn with a flame in the beginning. A luminous flame is seen when the atoms of the gaseous substance are heated and start to glow. The colour produced by each element is a characteristic property of that element. Try and heat a copper wire in the flame of a gas stove and observe its colour. You have seen that incomplete combustion gives soot which is carbon.


Formation of coal and petroleum

Coal and petroleum have been formed from biomass which has been subjected to various biological and geological processes. Coal is the remains of trees, ferns, and other plants that lived millions of years ago. These were crushed into the earth, perhaps by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. They were pressed down by layers of earth and rock. They slowly decayed into coal. Oil and gas are the remains of millions of tiny plants and animals that lived in the sea. When they died, their bodies sank to the sea bed and were covered by silt. Bacteria attacked the dead remains, turning them into oil and gas under the high pressures they were being subjected to. Meanwhile, the silt was slowly compressed into rock. The oil and gas seeped into the porous parts of the rock, and got trapped like water in a sponge.

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