Difference Between Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Carbon Monoxide (CO)

The major difference between Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Carbon Monoxide (CO) is in the number of oxygen atoms they carry though both contain carbon and oxygen atoms. While both have the same number of carbon atoms, i.e., one carbon atom, carbon dioxide has 2 carbon atoms while carbon monoxide has one oxygen atom.

Carbon Dioxide(CO2)

  • One of the vital components of the carbon cycle, carbon dioxide serves as a greenhouse gas with a chemical composition of one carbon and two oxygen atoms.
  • Also referred to as dry ice and with molecular formula CO2
  • Natural sources – process of breathing, combustion of organic matter, volcanic eruptions, cellular respiration by aerobic entities, wood and fossil burning, industrial fermentation process
  • Its molecular mass is 44 g/mol and has a linear molecular shape attributed to two oxygen atoms attached on both sides of the carbon atom. They share a covalent bond

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

  • Has a molecular mass of 28.01 g/mol and a molecular formula CO
  • Has a linear structure with one carbon atom and one oxygen atom, sharing a triple covalent bond wherein one bond is a coordinate covalent bond
  • Sources – smoke from cigarettes, running card, charcoal burning, incomplete combustion of gas, fossil fuels, oils, woods, volcanoes. Some other sources are – cookers, water heaters, central heating system, boilers, gas fires
  • It is an odourless and tasteless gas. It is a toxic gas, its breathing/higher level of exposure can be a threat to life as it gets mixed up with blood, forming carboxyhaemoglobin, hindering the process of oxygen supply to the cells, ultimately may result in death

Difference Between Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Listed below are dissimilarities between Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Attributes Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Carbon Monoxide (CO)
What it is It is a gas containing oxygen atom(two) and carbon atom(one), liberated by some of the activities like – breathing, combustion of fuels etc. This gas is comparatively less toxic It is a gas containing oxygen atom(one) and carbon atom(one), liberated by the incomplete combustion of fuels and is toxic
Molecular mass 44 g/mol 28.01 g/mol
Molecular formula CO2 CO
Bond length between carbon and oxygen atom 116.3 pm 112.8 pm
Bond type Covalent bond Covalent bond and coordinate bond referred to as triple covalent bond
Occurrence Naturally occurs in the atmosphere Does not naturally occur in the atmosphere
Sources Naturally produced through respiration(humans and animals), chemical reactions, combustion of fuels, fermentation Produced due to incomplete combustion of fossils, coal, oil and natural gas
Additional characteristics It is a non-flammable gas It is a flammable gas
Rarely poisonous Causes fatal toxicity
Has an impact on the respiratory system Has an impact on the central nervous system, lungs and blood

Listed above were some points differentiating carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Understand the property of each one in detail and learn more important concepts to be covered for NEET at BYJU’S.

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