Meaning of Carbon Dioxide

What is Carbon Dioxide:

Carbon dioxide, whose chemical formula is CO2, is a chemical compound that is found mostly in the atmosphere as part of the carbon cycle that is vital for life on Earth.

Carbon dioxide was first identified by the Scottish chemist and physician Joseph Black in 1750 and is a by-product of the cellular metabolism of all living things.

Carbon dioxide is a linear molecule made up of one carbon atom bonded with two oxygen atoms: CO2.

See also Oxygen cycle.

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has the function of keeping the atmosphere warm by preventing the Earth from freezing. This phenomenon is called the greenhouse effect.

See also: Greenhouse effect.

The gaseous physical state is the most common form of carbon dioxide despite also existing in solid and liquid states:

  • In the gaseous state, carbon dioxide is found in greatest quantity in the atmosphere at around 20 to 25 degrees Celsius.
  • In solid state, gas can only change state at temperatures below -78 degrees Celsius, called dry ice.
  • In the liquid state, Henry's law applies, which stipulates that a gas can be dissolved in water only when the quantity and pressure is directly proportional to that exerted by the gas on the liquid.

Carbon dioxide in the carbon cycle

Carbon dioxide (CO2) plays an important role in the life cycle of plants and animals that is part of the carbon cycle.

Both animals and plants convert their food by combining it with oxygen to generate energy for growth and vital biological activities such as respiration. In the process of respiration, CO2 is released into the atmosphere.

The CO2 released into the atmosphere is used in the photosynthesis of plants, converting CO2, together with the water they absorb, into glucose and oxygen that are later transformed into food.

In this way, respiration and photosynthesis are opposite but complementary processes of the circulation of carbon on Earth.

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