AskDefine | Define carbide

Dictionary Definition

carbide n : a binary compound of carbon with a more electropositive element

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Any binary compound of carbon and a more electropositive element
  2. The polyatomic ion C22−, or any of its salts.
  3. The monatomic ion C4−, or any of its salts.
  4. A carbon-containing alloy or doping of a metal or semiconductor, such as steel.
  5. Tungsten carbide.
  6. trivial name for calcium carbide (CaC2), used to produce acetylene in bicycle lamps in the early 1900s.
any binary compound of carbon and a more electropositive element
polyatomic ion C22-, or any of its salts
monatomic ion C4-, or any of its salts
carbon-containing alloy or doping of a metal or semiconductor, such as steel
tungsten carbide
calcium carbide

See also

Extensive Definition

For the software development tool targeting the Symbian OS, see Carbide.c++.
In chemistry, a carbide is a compound of carbon with a less electronegative element. Carbides are important industrially: for example, calcium carbide is a feedstock for the chemical industry and iron carbide, Fe3C (cementite), is formed in steels to improve their properties.
Many carbides can be generally classified by chemical bonding type as follows:
  • salt-like ionic compounds
  • covalent compounds
  • interstitial compounds
  • "intermediate" transition metal carbides (a group of carbides that in bonding terms sit between the salt-like and interstitial carbides).
In addition to the carbides there are other groups of binary carbon compounds, i.e. Mg2C3 yields methylacetylene, CH3CCH, on hydrolysis which was the first indication that it may contain C34−.

Covalent carbides

Silicon and boron form covalent carbides.


The longheld view is that the carbon atoms fit into octahedral interstices in a close packed metal lattice when the metal atom radius is greater than approximately 135 pm:.

Intermediate transition metal carbides

In these the transition metal ion is smaller than the critical 135 pm and the structures are not interstitial but are more complex. Multiple stoichiometries are common, for example iron forms a number of carbides, Fe3C, Fe7C3 and Fe2C. The best known is cementite, Fe3C, which is present in steels. These carbides are more reactive than the interstitial carbides, for example the carbides of Cr, Mn, Fe, Co and Ni all are hydrolysed by dilute acids and sometimes by water, to give a mixture of hydrogen and hydrocarbons. These compounds share features with both the inert interstitals and the more reactive salt-like carbides.


carbide in Danish: Carbid
carbide in German: Carbid
carbide in Spanish: Carburo
carbide in Esperanto: Karbido
carbide in French: Carbure
carbide in Indonesian: Karbida
carbide in Hebrew: קרביד
carbide in Italian: Carburi
carbide in Latvian: Karbīdi
carbide in Hungarian: Karbid
carbide in Dutch: Carbide
carbide in Japanese: カーバイド
carbide in Norwegian: Karbid
carbide in Polish: Węgliki
carbide in Portuguese: Carbeto
carbide in Russian: Карбиды
carbide in Slovenian: Karbid
carbide in Finnish: Karbidi
carbide in Vietnamese: Cacbua
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