Return to Contents Chapter 11 : Arenes and Aromaticity Ch 11 contents

In 1984 a new form of carbon was discovered in which the C atoms existed as spherical clusters. C60 is the most well known of these structures and two JSMOL represtantations are shown below.   It was formally named "buckminsterfullerene" but is more commonly referred to as "buckyball" because of its similarity to the architectural work of Buckminster Fuller who designed geodesic domes.

In these structures, each C is sp2 hybridised and connected to 3 other C atoms in a network of C5 and C6 rings.  Despite the fact that the C6 ring are structurally similar to benzene, buckyball does not behave as an aromatic compound as it tends to undergo addition reactions.  This is because the rings are non-planar with some angle strain that is relieved by making the C atoms sp3 hybridised.

These and related structures are being studied for a wide range of potential uses such as superconductors and in fuel cells.

Question What other structures of elemental carbon are there ? ANSWER

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organic chemistry © Dr. Ian Hunt, Department of Chemistry University of Calgary