Exploring 10 Characteristics of Carbon Dioxide, Chemical Formula, Physical Properties, and Uses


Carbon dioxide is a compound that plays a significant role in our daily lives. Here are 10 characteristics of this versatile compound, including its chemical formula, physical properties, and uses.

Carbon dioxide is a gas that is obtained as a final product of a number of chemical and biological processes. Its concentration in the atmosphere is rather low, although it has increased a lot in recent years.

Carbon dioxide is made up of two carbon atoms and one oxygen atom, so that its chemical formula is CO2. This molecule is linear and symmetric geometry, the Lewis structure that represents it is: O = C = O. Next, and by way of summary, the characteristics, properties and effects of carbon dioxide.

10 Characteristics Of Carbon dioxide - What are the Features?

Characteristics Of Carbon dioxide

1. Structure and formula

The chemical formula for carbon dioxide is CO2, which indicates that it consists of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms. The molecule has a linear structure, with the carbon atom in the center and the oxygen atoms arranged symmetrically on either side. This arrangement results in a molecule that is non-polar and has no overall electric charge.


2. Physical properties

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless gas at standard temperature and pressure. Here are some physical properties of carbon dioxide:

  1. State: Carbon dioxide is a gas at room temperature and standard pressure. However, it can be liquefied under pressure and cooled.
  2. Density: The density of carbon dioxide gas is about 1.98 kg/m3 at standard conditions, which is about 1.5 times that of air.
  3. Solubility: Carbon dioxide is soluble in water, and the solubility increases with decreasing temperature and increasing pressure.
  4. Boiling point: Carbon dioxide has a very low boiling point (-78.5°C or -109.3°F at standard pressure), which means it can easily change from a liquid to a gas state.
  5. Freezing point: Carbon dioxide does not have a liquid phase at atmospheric pressure, and it sublimes directly from a solid to a gas at -78.5°C.
  6. Odor and taste: Carbon dioxide is odorless and has a slightly acidic taste.
  7. Viscosity: Carbon dioxide gas has a very low viscosity, which means it flows very easily.
  8. Conductivity: Carbon dioxide is a poor conductor of electricity.
  9. Non-flammable: Carbon dioxide is not flammable and does not support combustion.
  10. Pressure: Carbon dioxide is commonly used in pressurized systems, as it can be compressed to high pressures without exploding.

3. Solubility and density

Carbon dioxide is well soluble in water (each volume of water dissolves 0.9 volume of C02) and its density is 1.5 g / cm3 (one and a half times that of air).

4. Generation

Carbon dioxide is formed from various processes, including:

Combustion. From fossil and non-fossil materials, such as oil, coal, gas.
Fermentation. The fermentation of sugars by bacteria and yeasts usually leads to the release of acids and / or alcohols and CO2.
Breathing. Both the higher animals and the plants breathe; in that process there is oxygen uptake and release of carbon dioxide.
Reaction of carbonates in acid medium.

10 Characteristics Of Carbon dioxide - What are the Features?

5. What is carbon dioxide for?

The photosynthesis made by plants and some other photosynthetic organisms, such as algae, requires CO2, so that these beings consume a large part of the carbon dioxide. This is a very important process, since it tends to partially reverse the growing accumulation of dioxide associated with the industrialization of urban centers.

6. Effect on pH

Carbon dioxide (CO2) can have an effect on pH in different ways, depending on the environment and the concentration of CO2.


In water, carbon dioxide can react with water molecules to form carbonic acid (H2CO3), which can further dissociate to form hydrogen ions (H+) and bicarbonate ions (HCO3-):

CO2 + H2O ⇌ H2CO3 ⇌ H+ + HCO3-

This reaction can lead to a decrease in pH, making the water more acidic. This is why carbon dioxide dissolved in water is sometimes referred to as “carbonic acid.”

In the atmosphere, carbon dioxide can contribute to a phenomenon known as “ocean acidification.” When carbon dioxide is released into the air, some of it dissolves into the ocean, where it reacts with water to form carbonic acid. This acidification of the ocean can have negative impacts on marine life that rely on calcium carbonate structures, such as shells or coral reefs, which can dissolve in acidic water.

Overall, the effect of carbon dioxide on pH depends on the concentration and the environment. In water, higher concentrations of carbon dioxide can lead to more acidic conditions, while in the atmosphere, increased carbon dioxide can lead to ocean acidification.

7. Transported in the blood

The body produces carbon dioxide in the breath, it is transported in the blood in three ways: dissolved in the plasma, in the form of bicarbonate and combined with proteins such as carbamines.

10 Characteristics Of Carbon dioxide - What are the Features?

8. Refrigerant

Carbon dioxide in its solid form, which is achieved by exposure to low temperatures, forms dry ice. This is a very used and efficient refrigerant, when losing cold it does not become water (like common ice), which tends to minimize microbial contamination in fresh products.

9. Not flammable

This gas is not combustible and in general is not very reactive towards other substances, thanks to which it is ideal to be used in fire extinguishers or domestic extinguishers. Being gaseous, it is directly compressed inside the extinguisher and does not require any additional discharge mechanism. In addition, it does not conduct electricity, which is why it is used to extinguish fires where there is a risk of electric shock.

10 Characteristics Of Carbon dioxide - What are the Features?

10. Main responsible for the greenhouse effect

The main greenhouse gas responsible for the greenhouse effect is carbon dioxide (CO2). Other important greenhouse gases include methane (CH4), water vapor (H2O), and ozone (O3), as well as human-made gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).


Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap and re-radiate heat that would otherwise escape into space, which leads to warming of the Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere. This process is known as the greenhouse effect, and it is a natural phenomenon that helps keep the Earth’s temperature within a range that is suitable for life.

However, human activities such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes have increased the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide. This has led to an enhanced greenhouse effect, causing the Earth’s temperature to rise, resulting in climate change and associated impacts on the environment and human societies.

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