Carbon dioxide (Latin name: Dioxidum Carboni) is a very common gas, which is odorless and colorless in normal temperatures. Currently (July 2013), it represents the approximately 397 ppm of the atmospheric volume. Concentration in the atmosphere increases with a rising rate and the growth is currently at just over two ppm per year on average. Carbon dioxide has a significant biological importance, playing a vital role in the earth’s climate and has many industrial applications.
Those who write research paper on the topic should know the main toxicological properties of carbon dioxide:
- Odor: No odor warning. In high concentrations, however, has faintly pungent odor.
- Features: The gas is heavier than air. Risk of accumulation in confined spaces, particularly at ground level. Highest CO2 concentration is normally found in the room’s lowest point.
- Suffocating by inhalation as it displaces oxygen in the air.
- Even low concentrations cause rapid circulatory insufficiency.
Carbon dioxide is produced by respiration in all aerobic organisms (plants, animals, fungi, and many microorganisms). In the body, carbon dioxide is a waste product formed during cellular respiration, and leaves the body with the breath. On the other hand, the plants convert carbon dioxide by means of photosynthesis into water and sugars, which they partly use in their own metabolism, and store in cells, often converted into cellulose, starch, or fat. Photosynthesis binds carbon dioxide and disengage it through breathing and other combustion, approximately in balance under normal conditions.
Carbon dioxide is heavy, suffocating and very difficult to get to react to. When inhaled in high concentrations, it gets a sour taste in the mouth and a stinging sensation in the neck and throat as the gas dissolves in saliva, forming carbonic acid. The molecule is straight and consists of a carbon atom surrounded by two oxygen atoms. At low temperature, the gas passes into the solid state, known as dry ice. At normal pressure, the dry ice sublimate into gas. Sublimation point of carbon dioxide at normal pressure is at -78° C. Carbon dioxide in liquid form can only occur at high pressure: at the pressure of 67 atm gaseous carbon dioxide become liquid.
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, formed by the complete combustion of carbon in oxygen. The burning of biomass does not increase carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, as long as the biomass is allowed to grow up again and re-absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide. The burning of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum, natural gas, oil shale, tar sand, garbage and the gas flaring recycled carbon that has been out of the orbit very long time. Atmospheric carbon dioxide increases, unless every gram of reversed carbon is stored in new biomass. Carbon dioxide is also absorbed by water, especially in the oceans, which pH is above 7.0. When the rain falls over the areas where there is limestone and calcareous clay , it also binds carbon dioxide. Calcium carbonate, CaCO3, reacts with carbon dioxide, bound in water, known as carbonic acid, H2CO3. Calcium bicarbonate, Ca(HCO3)2 is formed instead.
This increase in the carbon dioxide, which industrialism and its large-scale use of fossil fuels led to an increased greenhouse effect, which contributes to global warming. In addition, the gas emissions lead to ocean acidification, which may develop into a serious threat to ocean ecosystems.
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