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- Molecular formula: CO2
- Molar mass: 44.010
- CAS Registry Number: 124-38-9
- Appearance: Colorless, odorless gas. [Note: Shipped as a liquefied compressed gas. Solid form is utilized as dry ice.]; colourless odourless gas
- Melting point: -56.5
- Boiling point: -78
- Solubility: Water, 1480 mg/L (25 deg C)
- Safety sheet: Not available
- Spectra: ChemSpider (IR), Massbank MS (1, 2), also check on SDBS. Add Spectra (Help).
Carbon dioxide (chemical formula CO2) is a colorless and odorless gas vital to life on Earth. This naturally occurring chemical compound is composed of a carbon atom covalently double bonded to two oxygen atoms. Carbon dioxide exists in Earth's atmosphere as a trace gas at a concentration of about 0.04 percent (400 ppm) by volume.
Atmospheric carbon dioxide is the primary source of carbon in life on Earth and its concentration in Earth's pre-industrial atmosphere since late in the Precambrian was regulated by photosynthetic organisms and geological phenomena. As part of the carbon cycle, plants, algae, and cyanobacteria use light energy to photosynthesize carbohydrate from carbon dioxide and water, with oxygen produced as a waste product.
Carbon dioxide () is produced by all aerobic organisms when they metabolize carbohydrate and lipids to produce energy by respiration. It is returned to water via the gills of fish and to the air via the lungs of air-breathing land animals, including humans. Carbon dioxide is produced during the processes of decay of organic materials and the fermentation of sugars in bread, beer and winemaking. It is produced by combustion of wood, carbohydrates and fossil fuels such as coal, peat, petroleum and natural gas.
It is a versatile industrial material, used, for example, as an inert gas in welding and fire extinguishers, as a pressurizing gas in air guns and oil recovery, as a chemical feedstock and in liquid form as a solvent in decaffeination of coffee and supercritical drying. It is added to drinking water and carbonated beverages including beer and sparkling wine to add effervescence. The frozen solid form of CO2, known as "dry ice" is used as a refrigerant and as an abrasive in dry-ice blasting.
Carbon dioxide is an important greenhouse gas. Burning of carbon-based fuels since the industrial revolution has rapidly increased its concentration in the atmosphere, leading to global warming. It is also a major cause of ocean acidification because it dissolves in water to form carbonic acid.
Dry ice, sometimes referred to as "cardice" (chiefly by British chemists), is the solid form of carbon dioxide. It is used primarily as a cooling agent. Its advantages include lower temperature than that of water ice and not leaving any residue (other than incidental frost from moisture in the atmosphere). It is useful for preserving frozen foods where mechanical cooling is unavailable.
Dry ice sublimes at −78.5 °C (−109.3 °F) at Earth atmospheric pressures. This extreme cold makes the solid dangerous to handle without protection due to burns caused by freezing (frostbite). While generally not very toxic, the outgassing from it can cause hypercapnia (abnormally elevated carbon dioxide levels in the blood) due to buildup in confined locations.
Methanedione (IUPAC Name); Di-carbon oxide; carbonyl oxide; dioxidocarbon; dioxomethane; Dry ice; Dioxo-methane
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