Compounds of carbon

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There is an immense number of distinct compounds that contain carbon atoms. Some sources suggest that there are about ten million known compounds.[1] However, it is possible that the number is greater.

Contents

Organic compounds

Every organic compound contains at least one atom of carbon. The number of these compounds is immense and the described number of defined compounds is close to 10 million. However, an indefinitely larger number of such compounds are theoretically possible.


The distinction between organic and inorganic compounds is only a matter of convention, and there are several compounds that have been classified either way, such as: COCl2, CSCl2, CS(NH2)2, CO(NH2)2.

Inorganic compounds

There is a rich variety of carbon chemistry that does not fall within the realm of organic chemistry and is thus called inorganic carbon chemistry.

Compounds with other nonmetals

There are many oxides of carbon (oxocarbons), of which the most common are carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). Other less known oxides include carbon suboxide (C3O2) and mellitic anhydride (C12O9). There are also numerous unstable or elusive oxides, such as dicarbon monoxide (C2O), oxalic anhydride (C2O4), and carbon trioxide (CO3).

Other compounds of carbon with nonmetals include:

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