Explain the structure of carbon dioxide.


Carbon dioxide is colourless and odourless gas in nature. It has the chemical formula CO2. It plays a vital role in the occurrence of life on the earth. The gas is vital for the process of photosynthesis.

Structure of carbon dioxide

The carbon dioxide molecule has two double bonds between the carbon and oxygen atoms. Each double bond is made up of one sigma and one pi bond, so a carbon dioxide molecule contains two sigma and two pi bonds. Electron dot structures or Lewis dot formula can be drawn if the molecular formula of the compound is known.

  • The bond angle is 180° between both the carbon and the two oxygen atoms, carbon dioxide has a linear structure.
  • The carbon atom is sp hybridization and both oxygen atoms are hybridized by sp2.
  • The two individual bonds formed are polar, because oxygen is more electronegative than carbon, but because of the cancellation of the dipole moment, the molecule as a whole is not polar.

Properties of carbon dioxide

  • The chemical formula of carbon dioxide is CO2.
  • Carbon dioxide is colourless and odourless gas in nature.
  • It plays a vital role in the existence of life on the earth.
  • This gas is found in traces in the atmosphere, but it is of great importance.


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