Why is carbon so honored? The thing is that each carbon atom has the ability to form bonds with 4 other atoms. In the language of chemists, this is called "valency". Carbon easily combines with both more active and less active atoms of other elements. But most importantly, carbon atoms can combine with each other, forming long chains, which, after such a connection, still have enough valence bonds to continue to combine with atoms of other elements. Therefore, carbon compounds are numerous and diverse in their physical and chemical properties. So much so that a separate section of chemistry has been allocated for their study. And since carbon compounds, proteins, form the basis of all living organisms, this section is called organic chemistry.
The complex begins with the simple. The simplest organic compounds are hydrocarbons. Here the carbon combines either with hydrogen atoms or with other carbon atoms. Let’s consider in more detail what combinations are possible here.
The simplest hydrocarbon is methane gas. Its formula is CH4. All valence bonds of the carbon atom are occupied by hydrogen atoms.
Now let’s remove one of the hydrogen atoms and put another carbon atom in its place. Such a simple chain will be able to attach to itself, in addition to the existing ones, three more hydrogen atoms, forming a new substance, ethane gas, C2H6.
Let’s continue to combine carbon and hydrogen atoms further. Replacing one hydrogen atom in ethane with a carbon atom and “saturating" the remaining valence bonds with hydrogen atoms, we obtain the next one from saturated hydrocarbons. It is propane gas, whose chemical formula is C3H8. Having made such a combination again, we obtain the formula for butane gas, C4H10.
Butane is a colorless gas with a pungent odour. Butane, as well as the already mentioned methane, ethane and propane, is combustible. The domestic gas supplied to our kitchens is a mixture of propane and butane. These gases are easily compressed and turn into a liquid at normal temperature. In liquid form, they are often transported in tanks labeled "propane-butane". It is not butane itself that explodes, but its mixture with air at a concentration of 2 to 9 percent. Therefore, if the gas stove burner goes out and there is a strong smell of butane, you should in no case turn on the light and light the fire, but thoroughly ventilate the room.
Like all saturated hydrocarbons, butane gas is the basis for the production of a large number of plastics and other useful materials. It is also used in the food industry. Fruit stored in a butane atmosphere does not spoil. Also, butane gas is used in aerosol packages as an atomizer. Deodorants and perfumes fall on our body in a jet of butane.
As you can see, organic chemistry is one of the most interesting sciences studied at school. Those who believe that this is not so, I refer to the most interesting book by A. Azimov (he is better known as a science fiction writer) "The World of Carbon". Trust me, it’s a delightful read!