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Carbon is found both in the free state as-well-as the combined state in nature. In the pre-historic days, ancients used to produce charcoal by heating organic materials. They used to get carbon compounds both from living things as-well-as non-living things. Thus, in the early \(19\)th century, Berzelius classified carbon compounds based on their source as follows:
Organic Carbon Compounds:
These are the compounds of carbon collected from living organisms such as plants and animals.
Ethanol, Cellulose, Starch.
Inorganic Carbon Compounds:
These are the compounds including carbon but obtained from non-living things.
Calcium carbonate, Carbon monoxide, Carbon dioxide.
Organic Carbon Compounds:
There are millions of organic carbon compounds in nature and also produced manually. Organic carbon compounds include carbon connected with other elements like hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur etc. Thus, there are various organic carbon compounds such as hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, amino acids, etc. You will study about these organic carbon compounds in your higher classes.
Inorganic Carbon Compounds:
As related to organic compounds, the number of inorganic carbon compounds are less. Oxides, Carbides, Sulphides, Cyanides, Carbonates, and Bicarbonates are significant inorganic carbon compounds. The formation, properties and uses of some of these compounds are given in the table.
Carbon monoxide (\(CO\))
Not a natural component of air. It is mainly added to the atmosphere due to the incomplete combustion of fuels.
Colourless, odourless,
highly toxic,
sparingly soluble in
The main component of water gas (\(CO\) +\(H_2\)). They are Reducing agent.
Carbon dioxide (\(CO_2\))
Occurs in nature as free and combined forms. The combined form is found in minerals like limestone, magnesite. Formed by the complete combustion of carbon or coke.
Colourless, odourless,
stable, highly soluble
in water, takes part in
Fire extinguisher, preservative for fruits,
making bread, to
manufacture urea,
carbonated water,
nitrogenous fertilisers,
dry ice in the refrigerator.
Calcium Carbide (\(CaC_2\))Prepared by heating Calcium oxide and coke.Greyish black solid.To manufacture graphite and hydrogen. To prepare
acetylene gas for welding.
 Calcium disulphide (\(CS_2\))Directly prepared from Carbon and Sulphur.Colourless,
inflammable, highly
poisonous gas.
Solvent for sulphur.
To manufacture rayon,
fungicides, insecticides.
Calcium Carbonate (\(CaCO_3\))Prepared by passing Carbon dioxide into the solution of slaked lime.Crystalline solid,
insoluble in water.
Sodium bicarbonate (\(NaHCO_3\))Formed by treating sodium hydroxide with carbonic acid (\(H_2CO_3\)).White crystalline
substance, sparingly
soluble in water.
Preparation of sodium
carbonate, baking
powder, antacid.