Carbon dioxide is an odorless, slightly toxic and colorless gas that possesses an acidic and pungent taste. CO2 is a vital but small component of air. CO2 is a vital aspect of life as we know it mainly because it is a vital component of the photosynthesis process required for plants to produce food.
The average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 404 ppm. It should also be noted that the CO2 content in the atmosphere tends to fall and rise in a regular pattern of 6 ppmv. Also, the CO2 concentration in the air has witnessed a steady increase for about 7 decades. As it stands, the current increase is 2.5ppm each year. The big question on the minds of many however is “Is carbon dioxide heavier than air?”
Is carbon dioxide heavier than air?
Carbon dioxide with the chemical formula of CO2 possesses a higher density of the gases found within the air. Air is made up of about 78% nitrogen which weighs about 32 gram per mole as well as 0.9 % argon which weighs about 39 g/mol. The carbon dioxide, on the other hand, has two oxygen atoms and a carbon atom. This is in addition to possessing a molecular weight of about 44 g/mol. It, therefore, suffices to say that carbon dioxide is heavier or of a higher density than air.
What Is The Ratio Of Carbon Dioxide To Air?
Carbon dioxide is about 1.5 times the weight of air which makes it heavier. Hence, if it gets released to the atmosphere it will lead to concentration at low elevations. Furthermore, CO2 will turn to ice at a temperature of -78.5 degrees Celsius. CO2 is generally available in high-pressure cylinder gasses or the form of dry ice. They are also used industrially to make rubber, fertilizers, and plastics.
If Carbon Dioxide Weighs More Than Air, Why Doesn’t It Fall To The Ground?
If it is in a state of non-disturbance, carbon dioxide usually falls lower to the ground when compared with oxygen. However, both of them possess different exponential values, it doesn’t mean that half of the volume is oxygen while the other is CO2. As in the case of Carbon dioxide, nitrogen weighs more than air and the peak concentration of gas can be found within the silage surface which is where an individual will head if they must enter the silo.
How Is Carbon Dioxide Formed?
Carbon dioxide is created by biological processes and combustion. Some of these processes include digestion and fermentation as well as the decomposition of organic materials. A typical example is air we breathe out which contains about 4% of CO2 which is times hundred of the CO2 which was initially breathed in.
Furthermore, significant volumes of CO2 are made from lime kilns which combusts limestone to produce calcium oxide as well as the production of magnesium from dolomite. Furthermore, a host of other industrial activities usually produce large quantities of carbon dioxide include hydrogen production and ammonia production from hydrocarbon raw materials.
A Few Things To Know About Carbon Dioxide
Scientists think that the increased levels of carbon dioxide in the earth are the major cause of the increase in temperatures, storms, and sea rises. Here are a few things about carbon dioxide you should be aware of:
1. There is a growth of its rate of increase
For a couple of years now, the concentration of carbon dioxide has been on the increase each year. Back in the 1960s, Mauna Low witnessed a yearly increase of about 0.8 ppm each year. As of the 1980s and 90s, this rate had climbed to about 1.5 ppm per year. Currently, it sits at about 2 ppm every year.
It should also be noted that there is enough proof to show that this acceleration is a result of an increase in emissions.
2. There is a detailed scientific record of atmospheric carbon dioxide dating back to 800,000 years back.
To fully comprehend the variations of CO2 before 1958, scientists make use of ice cores. Research has to lead to the drilling of the icepack into Greenland and Antarctica which are thousands of years old. This old ice is known to containair bubbles which make it possible for scientists to decode the past levels of CO2.
3. Carbon dioxide isn’t evenly distributed
Satellite imagery indicates that the carbon dioxide is contained in the air can be a bit patchy, along with a high low concentration in some places and high concentration in others. The distribution and control of CO2 in the atmosphere is determined by large weather systems, jet stream, as well as some other atmospheric circulations. However, the observed patchiness has raised a few questions as regards how CO2 is transported through the atmosphere.
What Are The Uses Of Carbon Dioxide?
Carbon dioxide apart from causing certain issues to the environment also has some direct industrial and non-industrial uses that may surprise you. We will give you a break-down of some of these uses:
The Carbonation derived from beer is derived from the effect of CO2. The gas is sometimes known as dispense gas within the beer industry. CO2 is used to help in moving the keg to the tap while also adding suds to it.
It is, however, possible for you to alter the overall composition of CO2 in your beer by making changes to the pressure and temperature in which you are storing the CO2.
2. Dry Ice
Dry ice is simply CO2 gas in its solidified state. This is the reason why if you have any in a package; it does not easily thaw like the everyday ice. It, however, can disappear into thin air through the process of sublimation which is the direct conversion of solid to a gas without becoming liquid first.
3. Cultivation of Gardens
From your basic biology, you will agree with me that plants require carbon dioxide to be able to survive. This is because CO2 is one of the elements required for the process of photosynthesis in addition to water and sunlight.
Gardeners often increase the concentration of CO2 within greenhouses to promote quicker and fuller flowers, plants, vegetables, and fruits. It is, however, a tricky situation as too little and too much of it may prove to be rather counterproductive. You may also want to know that the feeling of tiredness you feel in a greenhouse is a result of the increased levels of CO2 in the air.
4. Wine industry
This may come as a surprise to quite several people. Carbon dioxide is a vital component of the winemaking process. However, unlike what is obtainable in the beer industry where it is deployed to carbonate and transfer the drink, CO2 is used in wine in its dry ice form.
Dry ice is usually used to prevent fermentation of harvested grapes by refrigeration while ensuring that the sugar content of the grape remains the same. The reason why regular ice is not used for this process is that even though it would preserve it from fermenting, it would water down the sugar content inside the grapes. This certainly is not an ideal thing for wine.
A Few Interesting Facts About Carbon Dioxide
It is interesting to note the CO2 content in stack gases and the air is enough to make the recovery of carbon dioxide commercially possible. The process of producing carbon dioxide on a commercial scale requires that it be purified and recovered via a very high-volume carbon dioxide-rich gas stream. This steam is usually created as an offshoot of an industrial-scale chemical production process.
Furthermore, Carbon dioxide derived from both industrial and natural sources is usually used in the production of oil from wells by transferring carbon dioxide into certain underground formations.
It should also be noted that carbon dioxide will not support combustion as air containing 10% of CO2 will quench an open flame. Also, when it is breathed in, it can pose a threat to life. Such types of concentration can be built up in digestion chambers, silos, wells, sewers and so on. Great restraint must, however, be taken when entering such places.
Having ascertained if Carbon dioxide is heavier than air, they must be both vital components to life as we know it. We do hope that we have adequately resolved all issues arising from this question.