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Uses of Carbon Dioxide

Last updated date: 04th Mar 2024
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Overview of Carbon Dioxide

One carbon atom is covalently doubly bound to two oxygen atoms in each of the molecules that make up carbon dioxide, which has the chemical formula CO2. At standard temperature, it is a gas. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere because it absorbs infrared radiation despite being transparent to visible light. It has increased from pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm to be a trace gas in the Earth's atmosphere at 417 ppm by volume.

We will discuss the uses and applications of carbon dioxide in this article. This gas is used in fire extinguishers; which will also going to be a point of discussion in the article below. So, let's dive in!

image showing carbon dioxide

Carbon Dioxide

Uses of Carbon Dioxide
Carbon dioxide is used as a refrigerant, in fire extinguishers, to blow coal, foam rubber and plastics, inflate life rafts and life jackets, blast coal, promote plant growth in greenhouses, immobilise animals before slaughter, and in carbonated drinks. In the presence of sunlight, plants use it in the process of photosynthesis to create their own sustenance. Due to the gas' non-combustible nature, it is also used in fire extinguishers. Dry ice, which is used as a refrigerant, is made with carbon dioxide.

Uses of Carbon Dioxide in Everyday Life 

Your body is built to control breathing by using carbon dioxide levels. You yawn and try to breathe more to try to expel the excess CO2 if your CO2 levels are too high. It's possible to forget to breathe if your CO2 levels are too low. Unconsciousness is a real possibility, and it may ultimately result in death.

Cement production, deforestation, the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas (with CO2 emissions as a byproduct), transportation, industrial sources, chemical production, petroleum production, and agricultural practices are all examples of uses for carbon dioxide. It is also used to carbonate sodas, as an alternative to water in fire extinguishers, and to cool large (industrial size) refrigeration systems.

Which Gas is Used in Fire Extinguishers?

Carbon dioxide is both incombustible and incapable of supporting combustion, therefore, used in fire extinguishers. Spraying it on a burning object prevents oxygen from getting to the fire, putting it out. Where water damage and fouling of delicate electrical, electronic, or laboratory equipment cannot be tolerated or where cleanup is a concern, carbon dioxide extinguishers are preferred to water or dry chemical extinguishers.

Why do Fire Extinguishers Utilise Carbon Dioxide?

Fuel, oxygen, and heat are the three ingredients that start a fire. Fire will put out itself if one of the three ingredients is taken away. Oxygen is the only element that carbon dioxide eliminates. Being heavier than oxygen, carbon dioxide acts as a blanket over the flames. The fire is controlled because the contact between the fuel and oxygen is broken.

So, carbon dioxide is a component in fire extinguishers, as carbon dioxide gas is not flammable. Gases containing carbon dioxide do not support burning. In order to prevent oxygen from coming into touch with fire, it displaces oxygen. As a result, carbon dioxide gas cuts off the oxygen supply, which depletes the fire triangle of oxygen. Carbon dioxide gas is kept under extremely high pressure in fire extinguishers.


Image shows fire extinguishers utilise Carbon Dioxide

Fire Extinguishers Utilise Carbon Dioxide

Other 10 Uses of Carbon Dioxide 

  • Using both carbon and oxygen to create carbohydrates, plants use a process known as photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.

  • Another refrigerant utilised is carbon dioxide.

  • It is used as a fire extinguisher.

  • It is applied to encourage plant growth in greenhouses.

  • Soft drinks, beer, and other carbonated beverages use it to add fizz.

  • In large-scale refrigeration, a lot of dry ice is required for which solid carbon dioxide is employed.

  • It is a component of medicinal gases since it encourages exhalation.

  • The finest illustration of how carbon dioxide is used in daily life is when baking powder or yeast releases carbon dioxide to cause cake batter to rise.

  • About 18% of the human body is made up of carbon dioxide. 

  • For the creation of inks and paints, amorphous carbon is employed.

  • In your pencils, the lead is made of graphite.

Image shows Application of Carbon Dioxide

Application of Carbon Dioxide


To conclude all the conceptual understanding regarding carbon dioxide in this article. we can say that carbon dioxide is a colourless, odourless gas produced from the burning of any carbon-containing fuel and exists in the environment. An animal's lungs empty when it breathes. It is created when organic stuff decomposes. Additionally, it is used by plants during photosynthesis. Now, we are aware of the carbon dioxide gas. We have already discussed this gas in detail in the above article. We hope this article was beneficial for you.

FAQs on Uses of Carbon Dioxide

1. What are the uses of CO2 in different industries?

CO2 can be converted into a number of chemical intermediaries using different catalysts. These materials, including methanol, syngas, and formic acid, are subsequently used as feedstocks in other industrial processes. Catalysts can also convert CO2 into polymers, which are the building blocks for plastics, adhesives, and medications.

2. What governs CO2 laser operation?

Light is produced by a CO2 laser when electricity is passed through a tube filled with gas. Mirrors are also located at the tube's terminus. One of the mirrors reflects all light completely, while the other lets some light through. Typically, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, nitrogen, and helium make up the gas mixture.

3. Why is carbon dioxide such a crucial gas?

An essential greenhouse gas that aids in keeping heat in our atmosphere is carbon dioxide. Our earth would be uninhabitable cold without it. However, a rise in average global temperatures brought on by rising CO2 levels in our atmosphere is affecting other facets of Earth's climate.