Each element in the carbon family only has two electrons in its outermost orbital, the p orbital.
Carbon is the only truly nonmetallic element in the group. It can bond covalently with silicon to form silicon carbide. It also bonds with hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen to form a huge array of compounds, from methanol to morphine.
Silicon and germanium are metalloids that are used as semiconductors while in their solid state. Tin and lead fall strongly in the metal category, but they are poor metals as they do not conduct either heat or electricity well, unlike metals in the d-block.Learn more about Chemistry