Carbon Monoxide Blog

  • Email
  • Sharebar
  • Email
Ihayn2's picture
Carbon monoxide (CO) is colourless, tasteless and odourless in gas form, and its also toxic... Yay. 
CO is made up of one carbon atoms and one oxygen atoms. It is produced from the burning of hydrocarbon fuels such petrol, natural gas and diesel and from incomplete combustion- combustion in a low oxygen environment. Carbon monoxide is toxic at 0.1% of the air and is so poisonous because of the way it bonds with the haemoglobin molecules in the blood. It combines with haemoglobin and forms 
carboxyhaemaglobin which has no oxygen carrying capacity. 



CO is triple bonded with two covalent bonds and one dative covalent bond. A covalent bond is one where atoms share electrons and are bound together because the electrons are attracted to both atoms nuclei. Metals cannot form covalent bonds and since there are no free electrons or ions they do not conduct electricity. Generally covalent bonds are gases or liquids with low melting/boiling points and usually each atom supplies one electron. However in a dative covalent bond (also called a coordinate bond) both electrons come from the same atom. In CO oxygen supplies the two electrons for this bond. This gives both atoms the 8 outer shell electrons to be stable. 

Carbon is in the fourth periodic group and oxygen is in the sixth. Carbon Monoxide has a formal negative charge on the carbon and the molecule is neutral because oxygen has a formal positive charge. However carbon is electropositive and seeks to relieve the pressure from the negative formal charge. This is the reason CO is such an aggressive molecule and why it is so attracted to transition metals. This also explains why CO is toxic in such small quantities. It is 200 times more attracted to haemoglobin than oxygen because it wishes to bond with the iron molecule. 
To investigate CO in all its wonderful poisonousness further these sites should help:
Its interesting to note that Carbon Monoxide is poisonous at 1000 parts per million and that Carbon Dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is currently at 4000 parts per million, and with both gases produce as major byproducts of industrial processes how at risk are we of atmospheric CO poisoning? Leave your theories in the comments below!
Thankfully I didn't find programming this model too challenging. I luckily chose a molecule as programming an atom was extremely complicated... So I guess I was a little lucky but it was really interesting seeing how the software worked and exploring possibilities with my little turtle/fish/aeroplane/empty-annoyingly-hard-to-see-random-marker-thingy!


dkham0's picture


in-text ref? 

Reflective qsns as stated on task sheet?

Ihayn2's picture

Nice Job Isaac!!!

Thats some nice work there Isaac! You are a model student and should be commended on your excelent work! A+ !!!