Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide
Structural formula of carbon dioxide with bond length
Ball-and-stick model of carbon dioxide
Space-filling model of carbon dioxide
Other names
  • Carbonic acid gas
  • Carbonic anhydride
  • Carbonic oxide
  • Carbon oxide
  • Carbon(IV) oxide
  • Dry ice (solid phase)
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard100.004.271
EC Number204-696-9
E numberE290 (preservatives)
RTECS numberFF6400000
UN number1013 (gas), 1845 (solid)
Molar mass44.01 g·mol−1
AppearanceColorless gas
  • Low concentrations: none
  • High concentrations: sharp; acidic[1]
  • 1562 kg/m3 (solid at 1 atm and −78.5 °C)
  • 1101 kg/m3 (liquid at saturation −37°C)
  • 1.977 kg/m3 (gas at 1 atm and 0 °C)
Melting point −56.6 °C; −69.8 °F; 216.6 K (Triple point at 5.1 atm)
−78.5 °C; −109.2 °F; 194.7 K (1 atm)
1.45 g/L at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa
Vapor pressure5.73 MPa (20 °C)
Acidity (pKa)6.35, 10.33
−20.5·10−6 cm3/mol
Viscosity0.07 cP at −78.5 °C
0 D
37.135 J/K mol
214 J·mol−1·K−1
−393.5 kJ·mol−1
Safety data sheetSee: Sigma-Aldrich
NFPA 704
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
90,000 ppm (human, 5 min)[3]
US health exposure limits (NIOSH):
PEL (Permissible)
TWA 5000 ppm (9000 mg/m3)[2]
REL (Recommended)
TWA 5000 ppm (9000 mg/m3) ST 30,000 ppm (54,000 mg/m3)[2]
IDLH (Immediate danger)
40,000 ppm[2]
Related compounds
Other anions
Other cations
Related carbon oxides
Related compounds
Supplementary data page
Refractive index (n),
Dielectric constantr), etc.
Phase behaviour
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Carbon dioxide (chemical formula CO2) is a colorless gas with a density about 60% higher than that of dry air. Carbon dioxide consists of a carbon atom covalently double bonded to two oxygen atoms. It occurs naturally in Earth's atmosphere as a trace gas. The current concentration is about 0.04% (410 ppm) by volume, having risen from pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm. Natural sources include volcanoes, hot springs and geysers, and it is freed from carbonate rocks by dissolution in water and acids. Because carbon dioxide is soluble in water, it occurs naturally in groundwater, rivers and lakes, ice caps, glaciers and seawater. It is present in deposits of petroleum and natural gas. Carbon dioxide is odorless at normally encountered concentrations, however, at high concentrations, it has a sharp and acidic odor.[1]

As the source of available carbon in the carbon cycle, atmospheric carbon dioxide is the primary carbon source for life on Earth and its concentration in Earth's pre-industrial atmosphere since late in the Precambrian has been regulated by photosynthetic organisms and geological phenomena. Plants, algae and cyanobacteria use light energy to photosynthesize carbohydrate from carbon dioxide and water, with oxygen produced as a waste product.[4]

CO2 is produced by all aerobic organisms when they metabolize carbohydrates and lipids to produce energy by respiration.[5] 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 wine making. It is produced by combustion of wood and other organic materials and fossil fuels such as coal, peat, petroleum and natural gas. It is an unwanted byproduct in many large scale oxidation processes, for example, in the production of acrylic acid (over 5 million tons/year).[6][7][8][9]

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 as a supercritical fluid solvent in decaffeination of coffee[10] 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.

The carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the use of fossil fuels "represents 99.4% of CO2 emissions in 2013".[11] Carbon dioxide is the most significant long-lived greenhouse gas in Earth's atmosphere. Since the Industrial Revolution anthropogenic emissions – primarily from use of fossil fuels and deforestation – have rapidly increased its concentration in the atmosphere, leading to global warming. Carbon dioxide also causes ocean acidification because it dissolves in water to form carbonic acid.[12]


Crystal structure of dry ice

Carbon dioxide was the first gas to be described as a discrete substance. In about 1640,[13] the Flemish chemist Jan Baptist van Helmont observed that when he burned charcoal in a closed vessel, the mass of the resulting ash was much less than that of the original charcoal. His interpretation was that the rest of the charcoal had been transmuted into an invisible substance he termed a "gas" or "wild spirit" (spiritus sylvestris).[14]

The properties of carbon dioxide were further studied in the 1750s by the Scottish physician Joseph Black. He found that limestone (calcium carbonate) could be heated or treated with acids to yield a gas he called "fixed air." He observed that the fixed air was denser than air and supported neither flame nor animal life. Black also found that when bubbled through limewater (a saturated aqueous solution of calcium hydroxide), it would precipitate calcium carbonate. He used this phenomenon to illustrate that carbon dioxide is produced by animal respiration and microbial fermentation. In 1772, English chemist Joseph Priestley published a paper entitled Impregnating Water with Fixed Air in which he described a process of dripping sulfuric acid (or oil of vitriol as Priestley knew it) on chalk in order to produce carbon dioxide, and forcing the gas to dissolve by agitating a bowl of water in contact with the gas.[15]

Carbon dioxide was first liquefied (at elevated pressures) in 1823 by Humphry Davy and Michael Faraday.[16] The earliest description of solid carbon dioxide was given by Adrien-Jean-Pierre Thilorier, who in 1835 opened a pressurized container of liquid carbon dioxide, only to find that the cooling produced by the rapid evaporation of the liquid yielded a "snow" of solid CO2.[17][18]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Koolstofdioksied
Alemannisch: Kohlenstoffdioxid
беларуская: Дыяксід вугляроду
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Дыяксыд вугляроду
bosanski: Ugljik-dioksid
čeština: Oxid uhličitý
dansk: Kuldioxid
dolnoserbski: Wuglikowy dioksid
Esperanto: Karbona dioksido
贛語: 二氧化碳
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Ngi-yông-fa-than
한국어: 이산화 탄소
Հայերեն: Ածխաթթու գազ
hornjoserbsce: Wuhlikowy dioksid
Bahasa Indonesia: Karbon dioksida
interlingua: Anhydrido carbonic
íslenska: Koltvísýringur
Basa Jawa: Karbon dioksida
Kiswahili: Dioksidi kabonia
Kreyòl ayisyen: Dyoksid kabòn
Lëtzebuergesch: Kuelendioxid
Limburgs: Kooldioxide
la .lojban.: tabrelkijno
magyar: Szén-dioxid
Bahasa Melayu: Karbon dioksida
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Nê-iōng-huá-táng
Nederlands: Koolstofdioxide
日本語: 二酸化炭素
Nordfriisk: Kööldioxid
norsk nynorsk: Karbondioksid
Piemontèis: Anidrid carbònica
Plattdüütsch: Kohlenstoffdioxid
Runa Simi: Chimlasay
Seeltersk: Koolestofdioxid
Simple English: Carbon dioxide
slovenčina: Oxid uhličitý
slovenščina: Ogljikov dioksid
српски / srpski: Угљен-диоксид
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Ugljen-dioksid
Basa Sunda: Karbon dioksida
svenska: Koldioxid
Türkçe: Karbondioksit
українська: Діоксид вуглецю
vepsän kel’: Hil'muiktuzgaz
Tiếng Việt: Cacbon điôxít
文言: 二氧化碳
吴语: 二氧化碳
粵語: 二氧化碳
中文: 二氧化碳