Group 14 Elements General Introduction

Group 14 consists of Carbon (c), Silicon (Si), Germanium (Ge), Tin (Sn), lead (Pb) and Flerovium (Fl). Flerovium is artificially produced. Among these elements carbon is non-metal, tin and lead are metals and silicon and germanium are metalloids. These elements are also known as carbon family. This family is located on the right side of the periodic table and they belong to the p block elements.

They have four valance shell electrons and tend to form the covalent compounds. With an increase in mass and atomic radius, they increasingly become metallic and have low melting and boiling points. They form gaseous hydrogen compounds but with difficulty. These elements are either combustible or unstable. In this group the change from the non-metallic to the metallic character with the increasing atomic number is apparent. Some elements of this group form the binary compounds with the same chemistry as carbon stoichiometry but the structure and properties of these compounds differ greatly from the carbon’s analogs.

By moving down the group covalent radius is increased. Thus, a substantial increase in the radius is observed by moving down the group. However, the difference is not much considerable. Ionization enthalpies are decreased by moving down the group that is due to the increase in the distance from the nucleus. The ionization enthalpies of 14 group elements are greater than the 13 group elements. The radius of group 14 elements is less than that of the group 13 elements. Possibly, it could be explained by the concept of an increase in the effective nuclear charge. The properties of this group are intermediate between the properties of the boron group and the nitrogen group.Except for the Flerovium and Germanium, all other elements are familiar in daily life.

Carbon is the first element in this group. This element is plentily available on the earth. It is available both in free and combined states. Usually, it is present in the air, organic compounds, polymers, and carbonates, etc. It forms the infinite variety of compounds in both animal and plant kingdom. It has three normal isotopes 12C, 13C, 14C, and 15C is radioactive.

Silicon is commonly found in clay, sand, stone, dust, silicate minerals and silica. It is hard to find it in a pure state. It is not a metal but also it is not a non-metal. It is a metalloid.

Germanium is one of the rarest elements and it is used in the manufacturing of the semiconductor devices. If Germanium is pure then it is an excellent semiconductor. However, it is present only in traces and is too reactive to be found in the elemental state. Germanium forms a few characteristic minerals and is often associated with small concentrations with the coal and mineral zinc blende.

Tin is malleable as it is soft metal and has a low melting point. Mainly it is obtained from the mineral cassiterite. At regular pressure and temperature, it has two allotropes.

Lead also called Plumbate is obtained from the Galena. It is commonly used to make the lead-acid batteries, alloys, and oxidizing agents. Lead is toxic for humans and the environment and all other life.


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