What is the difference between Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide?
CO2 and CO are gaseous chemicals that contain oxygen and carbon. These two chemical gases are harmful to humans and they tend to be quite different.
The lesson provides a clear difference between carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide to help get rid of confusion among the learners. Let’s find out more:
What Is Carbon Dioxide?
Carbon dioxide is a chemical gas compound that comprises of one carbon and two oxygen molecules. The molecular formula of carbon dioxide is CO2 and the molecular mass is 4g/mol.
Combustion of organic matter, exhalation process during breathing by humans, and volcanic outgassing are some of the main sources of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide helps green plants to undertake photosynthesis and also protects the earth from harmful radiation.
The bond holding the carbon and oxygen atoms in the chemical gas is a covalent bond. The good news is that carbon dioxide gases are non-flammable.
What Is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a chemical gas compound that has one carbon and one oxygen atom. The molecular formula of carbon monoxide is CO and the molecular mass is 28.01g/mol.
The chemical gas compound has a linear structural shape and a triple covalent bond holding the atoms together. One of the bonds is known as a coordinate covalent bond.
The gas tends to be odorless and tasteless. However, the high concentration of the gas tends to be highly poisonous and life-threatening.
According to research, exposure to a low amount of carbon monoxide might result in dizziness, tiredness, stomachache, and confusion.
The main sources of the chemical gas are incomplete combustion of woods, fossil fuels, volcanoes, gas, oil and cigarette smoking.
Comparison Chart: Carbon Dioxide vs Carbon Monoxide
|Basic Terms||Carbon Dioxide||Carbon Monoxide|
|Meaning||Chemical gas compound that contains one carbon and two oxygen atoms.||Chemical gas compound that contains one carbon and oxygen atoms.|
|Type of Bond||Share covalent bond||Has both shared covalent bond and coordinate bond.|
|Occurrence||Occur naturally into the atmosphere||Occurs due to human activities but not naturally.|
|Sources||Combustion of fossil fuels, respiration, chemical reactions and fermentation||Incomplete combustion of wood, fossil fuels, and coal.|
|Target||Respiratory system||Lungs, central nervous system, and blood.|
|Oxidation||Tend to undergo an oxidation reaction.||Do not undergo an oxidation reaction|
Core Difference between Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide
- Carbon dioxide occurs due to a combination of one carbon and two oxygen during complete combustion of fossil fuels while CO is a combination of carbon and oxygen due to incomplete combustion of woods.
- The molecular mass of CO2 is about 44g/mol while that of carbon monoxide is about 28g/mol.
- The molecular formula of carbon dioxide is CO2 while that of carbon monoxide is CO.
- The bond length between carbon monoxide is about 112.8 pm while that of carbon dioxide is 116.3 pm.
- Carbon dioxide tends to have a shared covalent bond between carbon and oxygen while CO tends to have a shared covalent bond and coordinated bond.
- CO2occurs naturally into the atmosphere whereas carbon monoxide does not occur naturally.
- Carbon monoxide is flammable, odorless, colorless, tasteless, and poisonous while carbon dioxide is non-flammable, non-poisonous, and odorless.
Similarities of Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide
- Both are colorless, tasteless and odorless
- High level of these gases tend to be quite poisonous
- Both are formed by a combination of carbon and oxygen
- Tend to be released to the atmosphere through combustion
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The number of oxygen between these two compounds is what makes them stand apart. CO2 has two oxygen atoms while CO has one oxygen atom.
Understanding the difference between carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide will help you know how to differentiate them and avoid common confusion.
More Sources and References
- Potentiation by Carbon Dioxide of Carbon Monoxide. National Library of Medicine
- Carbon Monoxide. Wikipedia