The Carbon Group

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Chapter: Essentials of Inorganic Chemistry : The Carbon Group

Members of group 14 of the periodic table (14th vertical column) are summarised as carbon group consisting of carbon (C), silicon (Si), germanium (Ge), tin (Sn) and lead (Pb).


The Carbon Group

Members of group 14 of the periodic table (14th vertical column) are summarised as carbon group consisting of carbon (C), silicon (Si), germanium (Ge), tin (Sn) and lead (Pb) (Figure 5.1).


Group 14 elements have four valence shell electrons and therefore tend to form covalent compounds. Never-theless, with increasing mass and atomic radius, the elements show increasingly more metallic characteristics and have lower melting and boiling points. Elements within this group show a graduation from nonmetallic elements (C) to elements that are classified as metals (Pb). Silicon is generally seen as nonmetallic, whereas germanium is metallic. Nevertheless, this classification is not definite. Silicon and germanium both form covalent diamond-type structures in the solid state, but their electrical behaviour indicates more a metallic behaviour. Therefore, silicon and germanium are classified as metalloids (see Chapter 4).

Carbon is the essential element to life on earth, and the chemistry related to carbon is classified as organic chemistry and we will therefore not discuss it any further in this book. Organometallic chemistry relates to the interaction of carbon compounds with metals, and the basic concepts will be discussed in Chapter 8.

Tin and lead have been under investigation for use as anticancer and antimicrobial agents, but so far with limited success. This chapter will discuss the pharmaceutical applications of silicon- and germanium-based drugs.

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