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Catenation is the ability of an atom to form bonds with other atoms of the same element. It is exhibited by both carbon and silicon. Compare the ability of catenation of the two elements. Give reasons.

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Both carbon (C) and silicon (Si) have similar valence shell electronic configuration

C (atomic number 6) – Electronic configuration 2, 4

Si (atomic number 14) – Electronic configuration 2, 8, 4

Both have four electrons in the valence shell and hence show the phenomenon of catenation.

Carbon exhibits catenation much more than silicon or any other element due to its smaller size which makes the C—C bonds strong while the Si—Si bonds are comparatively weaker due to its large size.

Thus, due to greater strength of C—C over Si—Si bonds, carbon shows catenation to a greater extent than silicon.

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