# Elements other than carbon that can form many different compounds by bonding to themselves?

My textbook says the following:

Unique among the elements, carbon can bond to itself to form extremely strong two-dimensional sheets, as it does in graphite, as well as buckyballs and nanotubes.

Is carbon the only element that can do this?

If not, then what are the other elements can also do this? Is there a term to describe such elements?

What is the chemical characteristic that allows this to occur?

I would greatly appreciate it if people could please take the time to clarify this.

• Catenation : self linking property of an element (atom). – glucose Apr 26 '19 at 10:47
• The right question isn't whether an element can bond to itself. Plenty do that. The issue is whether an element can form a wide variety of stable structures when bonded to itself. – matt_black Apr 26 '19 at 13:32
• I was also aware that boron sheets were recently synthesized, but did not realize that someone has even predicted nitrogen sheets that could be stable at room temperature! – jeffB Apr 26 '19 at 15:20
• Sulfur can also form rings and chains – porphyrin Apr 26 '19 at 15:52
• What is the actual question here? Your citation does not say that bonding between identical atoms is something unique - every single element could do this even if transiently. The point is that carbon carbon allotropes are somewhat exceptional. – Mithoron Apr 26 '19 at 21:22

Is carbon the only element that can do this?

No, carbon is not the only element with such characteristics.

If not, then what are the other elements can also do this?

There is a whole number of elements such as silicon, arsenic, germanium.

Is there a term to describe such elements?

At least I'm unaware of such a term, which might be furnished by our far wiser community.

What is the chemical characteristic that allows this to occur?

Thus, the existence of a compound also depends on the precise conditions in which the compound is kept, for example sodium forms different types of chlorides under different conditions and that as pointed out by Poutnik in the comments, $$\ce{He2^1+}$$ and a ton of others are discovered and still more awaiting discovery.