Texas Carbon Definition

Can Carbon Form 5 Bonds?

Texas Carbon
Texas carbon refers to carbon atoms with five bonds. Todd Helmenstine

A Texas carbon is the name given to a carbon atom that forms five bonds.

The name Texas carbon comes from the shape formed by five bonds radiating outwards from the carbon similar to the star in the Texas state flag. Another popular idea is that the saying "Everything is bigger in Texas" applies to carbon atoms.

Although carbon usually forms 4 chemical bonds, it's possible (though rare) for 5 bonds to form. The carbonium ion and superacid methanium (CH5+) is a gas that can be produced under low-temperature laboratory conditions.

CH4 + H+ → CH5+

Other examples of Texas carbon compounds have been observed.


  • Akiba, Kin-ya et al. (2005). "Synthesis and Characterization of Stable Hypervalent Carbon Compounds (10-C-5) Bearing a 2,6-Bis(p-substituted phenyloxymethyl)benzene Ligand." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 127 (16), pp 5893–5901.
  • Pei, Yong; An, Wei; Ito, Keigo; von Ragué Schleyer, Paul; Zeng, Xiao Cheng (2008). "Planar Pentacoordinate Carbon in CAl5+: A Global Minimum." J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2008 130 (31), 10394-10400.
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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Texas Carbon Definition." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, thoughtco.com/texas-carbon-chemistry-definition-603596. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 25). Texas Carbon Definition. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/texas-carbon-chemistry-definition-603596 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Texas Carbon Definition." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/texas-carbon-chemistry-definition-603596 (accessed January 29, 2023).