Friday, August 30, 2013

Carbon dioxide: air, beer, and flies.

We have been using carbon dioxide to gas flies in genetics lab this semester - I hate flies, I love beer, I like to breathe...therefore, I like carbon dioxide.

Properties: Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless, nonflammable gas that is made up of one atom of carbon and two atoms of oxygen. It is a toxic gas at high concentrations and is an asphyxiant gas, which is why we can use it to black out flies in a lab setting because it restricts the amount of oxygen in an area.

Where it's found: Carbon dioxide is found mostly in the atmosphere, but it is also in the water and decomposing organic substances.

Carbon dioxide in the environment: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an integral part of our every day existance. You and I are releasing CO2 at this very moment; as is every other "living" organism on this planet (animals, plants, bacteria...nasty little flies, even...). Plants undergo a process called photosynthesis where they take CO2 and water from the atmosphere/environment and, under the influence of sunlight, convert it into the carbohydrate glucose and oxygen.

 6 CO2 + 6 H2O + solar energy ---> C6H12O6 + 6 O2

 At night, plants undergo a process called respiration, in which they take the glucose and oxygen produced during photosynthesis and convert the carbon back to CO2, releasing it into the atmophere for reuse.

Carbon dioxide in our culture: People who are fond of sparkling water, soda pop, and/or beer (ME!) have either a known or unknown affection towards carbon dioxide, as all three of those type of beverage utilize carbon dioxide in order to achieve that bubbly taste. People who are able to bake know that if the yeast in your batter doesn't rise, then your cake will be a little flat, however, carbon dioxide is responsible for making yeast rise.


Carbon dioxide has a linear shape with 180 degree bond angles and a hybridization of sp on the carbon atom.

Conclusion: You can't spell cool without c-double o.

Image used:

Works Cited:
1. Lenntech. Water Treatment Solutions. Copyright © 1998-2009 Lenntech Water treatment & purification Holding B.V.

1 comment:

  1. It is interesting to me that organic molecules are such a crucial part of our lives, but can also be so toxic.
    As humans we create carbon dioxide when we breath out, as you mentioned in your post, yet if we inhale a certain amount of it it could be fatal.
    We even consume carbon dioxide in drinks, like you said beer, soda, etc. but that is not as dangerous as breathing it in.
    I am interested to learn more about carbon molecules to find out how these different phases change the affect of molecules on humans.