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Exploring the Properties and Risks of Carbon Tetraiodide

Carbon Tetraiodide: A Comprehensive Guide

Carbon tetraiodide, also known as carbon iodide, is a stable chemical compound of carbon and iodine. It is a tetrahedral molecule with symmetrical molecular geometry, which gives it a zero dipole moment.

In this article, we will explore the chemical and physical properties of carbon tetraiodide, as well as its naming and classification.

Molecular Geometry

The molecular geometry of carbon tetraiodide is tetrahedral, with four iodine atoms surrounding a central carbon atom. This geometry is the result of the sp3 hybridization of the carbon atom.

The tetrahedral shape of carbon tetraiodide gives it a symmetrical structure, which means it has a zero dipole moment. As a result, the molecule is non-polar.

Dipole Moment and Thermal Stability

The non-polarity of carbon tetraiodide is due to its symmetrical structure, which results in a zero dipole moment. This also makes the molecule thermally stable.

A symmetrical structure ensures that the molecule has equal amounts of positive and negative charges dispersed throughout, making it less prone to degradation under thermal conditions.

Molar Mass and Density

The molar mass of carbon tetraiodide is 519.63 g/mol, and its density is 4.32 g/cm³. The molar density of carbon tetraiodide, calculated as the ratio of molar mass to volume, is 120.156 cm³/mol.

Melting and Boiling Points

The melting point of carbon tetraiodide is 168°C, while its boiling point is 305°C. These melting and boiling points indicate that carbon tetraiodide is a relatively stable solid at room temperature.

State at Room Temperature and Color

Carbon tetraiodide exists as a grayish-black, crystalline substance at room temperature. It is a solid, and its color is primarily due to the presence of iodine atoms in the compound.

Covalent Bond and Electron Configuration

Carbon tetraiodide is a covalent compound with a covalent bond between each iodine and carbon atom. The electron configuration of carbon tetraiodide is [Kr]4d¹⁰5s²5p⁵, which indicates the presence of 5 valence electrons in the outermost shell of the carbon atom.

Oxidation State and Acidity/Alkaline

Carbon tetraiodide has a formal oxidation state of +4 for the carbon atom. It is a non-acidic molecule and has a neutral pH, which means it is neither acidic nor alkaline.

Magnetic Character and Hydrates

Carbon tetraiodide is diamagnetic, which means it is not attracted to magnetic fields. It does not form hydrates, which are compounds that have water molecules attached to them.

Crystal Structure, Polarity, and Conductivity

Carbon tetraiodide has a crystalline structure, characterized by tightly packed crystals composed of tetrahedrally arranged molecules. As we have discussed, its symmetrical molecular geometry gives it a non-polar polarity.

Therefore, it is a poor conductor of electricity.

Reactions with Acid, Base, Oxide, and Metal

Carbon tetraiodide reacts with acids and forms iodine.

It also reacts with some metallic compounds, including copper, to form copper tetraiodide. Its reaction with base, oxide, and other metal compounds are not well-documented.

Naming and Classification of Carbon Tetraiodide


The IUPAC name of carbon tetraiodide is tetraiodomethane.

Chemical Formula and CAS Number

Carbon tetraiodide has the chemical formula CI₄, and its CAS registry number is 507-25-5.

ChemSpider ID and Chemical Classification

ChemSpider ID is a unique identification number assigned to every chemical compound registered in the Royal Society of Chemistrys database. The ChemSpider ID of carbon tetraiodide is 10298.

Carbon tetraiodide is classified as an inorganic compound and a halide.


Carbon tetraiodide is a stable compound, crucial for a diverse range of scientific and industrial applications. Understanding its physical and chemical properties, along with its naming and classification, is essential for those working in related fields.

From its molecular geometry to its reactivity with certain metals, carbon tetraiodide is a fascinating compound with many intriguing characteristics. Carbon tetraiodide, also known as carbon iodide, has significant industrial and scientific applications.

As a source of iodine and an iodination reagent, it plays a vital role in the manufacture of certain products and helps in scientific research. However, due to its high toxicity level, precautions need to be taken when handling or working with carbon tetraiodide.

Source of Iodine and Iodination Reagent

One of the primary uses of carbon tetraiodide is as a source of iodine. Iodine is a non-metallic element that is essential for many biological functions.

It is primarily used in the human body for the production of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism. Iodine is also used in the manufacture of various products such as dyes, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural chemicals.

Carbon tetraiodide is an excellent source of iodine because it readily breaks down to release its iodine content. The compound breaks down into carbon dioxide and iodine when it is subjected to certain conditions.

This reaction is utilized in the production of iodine vapor lamps that are used in photography, medical laboratories, and industrial applications. Carbon tetraiodide is also used as an iodination reagent in organic chemistry.

It is utilized in the synthesis of various organic compounds and pharmaceuticals. The reagent is used in the synthesis of iodoform, which is an important antiseptic.

Carbon tetraiodide is also utilized in the manufacture of organic intermediates such as iodinated pyridines, which are used as anti-tumor agents and fungicides.

Toxicity and Risks

Carbon tetraiodide is highly toxic and can pose a significant health risk to those exposed to it. Exposure to carbon tetraiodide can occur through inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact.

The compound can cause acute and chronic toxicity, depending on the level of exposure. Symptoms of acute toxicity include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypotension
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

Ingestion or inhalation of high levels of carbon tetraiodide can lead to severe respiratory distress, such as pulmonary edema.

Prolonged exposure to the compound may also lead to liver damage, renal impairment, and neurological damage. Carbon tetraiodide exhibits high toxicity to aquatic organisms.

When released into bodies of water, it can harm aquatic life and cause environmental damage. The compound is also highly flammable, which increases the risk of fire when exposed to open flames or sparks.

It is essential to take necessary precautions when handling or working with carbon tetraiodide. Protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, and respiratory protection should be worn to minimize the risk of exposure.

The compound should be stored in a well-ventilated area and kept away from sources of ignition.


Carbon tetraiodide is a valuable source of iodine and iodination reagent used in various industrial and scientific applications. However, due to its high toxicity level, it is crucial to take necessary precautions while handling the compound.

Proper safety measures should be followed to minimize the risk of exposure. It is essential to monitor exposure to carbon tetraiodide to prevent acute and chronic toxicity and ensure the safety of workers and the environment.

Carbon tetraiodide is a stable compound used in various applications, including as a source of iodine and an iodination reagent. While it plays a crucial role in industries and scientific research, it can be highly toxic, posing risks to human health and the environment.

Therefore, precautions must be implemented to ensure safe handling and storage of the compound.


  • What is carbon tetraiodide, and what are its uses?
  • How does carbon tetraiodide pose a risk to human health?
  • What safety measures should be taken when handling carbon tetraiodide?

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