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Hybridization of CO2

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Last updated date: 12th Apr 2024
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What is the Hybridization of Carbon Dioxide?

To determine the hybridization of carbon dioxide, let us take the carbon atom first. The carbon atom has two double bonds, or two effective pairs exist in it. However, this is not enough to produce bonds with oxygen. So, then, one electron from 2s orbital moves from the 2s level to the 2p level that results in the formation of two hybrid orbitals. Now, these hybridized sp orbitals of carbon atoms overlap with two p orbitals of the oxygen atoms to produce 2 sigma bonds. They are used to form a pi bond as for the two remaining p electrons. 


In the carbon dioxide molecule, oxygen also hybridizes its orbitals to produce three sp2 hybrid orbitals. The p orbital in the oxygen atom remains unchanged and is primarily used to form a pi bond. However, out of these three sp hybrid orbitals, only one will be used to produce a bond with the carbon atom.


Properties of Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide has an sp hybridization type. This hybridization type occurs as a result of carbon being bound to the other two atoms. Bonds can be either one single + one triple bond or two double bonds. We can also determine this closely by observing each atom of CO2.

The properties of CO2 like molecular name, the formula can be tabulated below.

Hybridization of Carbon in CO2

Carbon’s electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p2 in the ground state. We can consider one of the 2s electrons to be excited to fill the other empty 2p orbital to provide a 1s2 2s1 2p3 configuration. Each of the 2p orbital, 2px 2py, 2pz now holds one electron. The 2s orbitals and one of the 2p orbitals, for suppose, the 2py can hybridize and produce 2 sp hybrid orbitals. Oxygen has the 1s2 2s2 2p4 electron configuration of the ground state. Two of the 2p orbitals, for example, the 2px and 2pz, only hold one electron. The 2px now can overlap with one of the sp hybrids from the carbon to form a resultant σ bond. The 2pz now can overlap with the unhybridized 2pz on the carbon to form a resultant π bond.A similar process can happen on the other side of the carbon forming another π bond with the 2py orbitals from each atom and σ bond with Oxygen’s 2pz. 


Type of Hybridization Exists in CO2

Carbon has 6 electrons, whereas Oxygen has 8 electrons.

Before hybridization, the Carbon atom has 2 unpaired electrons to form bonding, which is not enough to form bonds with an oxygen atom. So, one electron from 2s orbital jumps from the 2s level to 2p level, and the orbitals hybridize to form the hybrid orbitals. The type of hybridization in CO2 is sp hybridization, and each carbon atom forms two sp hybrid orbitals. Out of two hybrid orbitals, one will be used to produce a bond with one oxygen atom, and the other will be used to produce a bond with another oxygen atom. The remaining two p electrons will be used to form a pi (π) bond.

Also, oxygen hybridizes its orbitals to form three sp2 hybrid orbitals. The unhybridized p orbital is used to form a pi bond, and out of three sp hybrid orbitals, only one will be used to form a bond with Carbon.


Lewis Structure of CO2

The formation of CO2 consists of two particles: Oxygen and Carbon. Carbon is in group 4, whereas oxygen is in group 6. Furthermore, there are 2 Oxygen atoms.

Therefore, CO2= 4 + 6(2) = 16. So, the total valence electrons are 16.

Carbon is the least electronegative, which means it stays at the centre. So, place the Carbon in the middle and then keep the oxygen either side of that!

Here we can observe some chemical bonds. Now, let us place an electron pair between each of these oxygen atoms. It will look like the following.

We have used 4 now. Then, we can complete the octets on the outer shell.

Now, let’s check and see whether we have octets. The oxygen on the right has 8, and the left has 8. So, both of these have octets. But, the carbon has only 4 valence electrons; it does not have octets.

Now, it’s time to share these nonbonding electrons between both atoms! It will look as shown below if we started from considering the Oxygen atom.

As we can see, Oxygen has 8 electrons, which is perfect. And the carbon has 6, which is a bit closer. Repeat the same process now to the other Oxygen electron. Let’s pick some electrons and share them across the other side so that Oxygen can have 8 and carbon as 6.

Finally, we have completed the formation of an octet. In Total, we used 16 valence electrons. (same as the beginning!) We can also write it as a structural formula, and that would look like the one given below.

When we talk about the lewis structure of carbon dioxide, we see that there are two oxygen atoms bonded with one carbon atom. Both the oxygen atoms are connected to the carbon atom via double bonds. We can see two lone pairs of electrons on each of the oxygen atoms while there is no lone pair of electrons in the carbon atom which means all its valence shell electrons are involved in bonding. In the Lewis structure of CO2, we can see that one carbon atom is connected to two oxygen atoms via two sigma bonds and there is no overall charge on neither the carbon atom nor the oxygen atoms. The shape of a Carbon Dioxide molecule is linear as it has a bond angle of 180°. 


Hybridization Of CO2 

If we talk about the hybridization of Carbon Dioxide molecules, we have to discuss both Carbon atoms and Oxygen atoms separately. When a carbon atom is connected to two other atoms (Oxygen) via either two double bonds or a single bond and a triple bond, then in such case, Carbon undergoes sp hybridization. Similarly, if we talk about the oxygen atom also undergoes hybridization to form three sp2 types of hybrid orbitals. 


Uses Of CO2 

Although CO2 is very harmful to the environment and humans, in certain ways it is very useful as well. If we talk about its uses, these are as follows:

1) CO2 is used as a refrigerant and it is also used in fire extinguishers. 

2) It is used in life rafts for inflating them and it is also used in life jackets. 

3) It is used in the extraction of coal, formation of rubber, plastics, etc. 

FAQs on Hybridization of CO2

1. What is the molecular Geometry of CO2?

Molecular geometry is the bond lengths and angles, determined experimentally. Lewis structures give an approximate measure of molecular bonding. There is a simple method that enables us to predict the overall geometry, which is Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR). It means, the valence shell electron pairs are involved in bonding, and that these electron pairs will keep very far away from each other, because of the electron-electron repulsion.But in CO2, more specifically, there are 16 valence electrons to work with.Only, the central carbon has a share in 4 valence electrons, so it is possible to move a lone pair from each oxygen, to produce two double bonds between Carbon and Oxygen. Only the central carbon has a share in 4 valence electrons, so, possibly, we can pass a lone pair from each oxygen, to form two double bonds between the C and O atoms.


The double bond acts as a single bond for our purpose of predicting it as a molecular shape.

2. Does CO2 support Combustion? How?

It depends on the term combusting. Ordinary flammable materials such as paper, wood, candle gasoline, wax, kerosene, and more will not burn in CO2. As a fact, CO2 is one of the reaction products of these types of combustion reactions. So in terms of normal and everyday combustion, this won’t happen because CO2 doesn’t support combustion.However, other few materials will burn in CO2, and Magnesium is one among them. This might be a surprise when we tried to put out a magnesium fire with a CO2 fire extinguisher!


When two atomic orbitals mix to form a new hybrid orbital, then it is called as hybridization of atoms. The energy and shape of the hybrid orbital are different from that of the two combining atoms. Hybridization of atomic orbitals usually occurs when an 's' orbital merges with other 's' orbital or when two 'p' orbitals merge or when an 's' orbital merges with a 'p' orbital or even when an 's' orbital merges with a 'd' orbital. But, this will only happen when both the orbitals which are mixing have the almost same level of energy. There are some cases though, in which atomic orbitals of slightly different energies also mix to form a hybrid orbital. Orbitals with half-filled electrons aren't the only ones that undergo hybridization, sometimes completely filled orbitals also undergo hybridization. Hybridization doesn't take place when an atom is isolated i.e., an atom undergoes hybridization only when it is involved in bond formation. Let's take the example of a Carbon atom. When it forms two double bonds with two other atoms, it undergoes sp hybridization. When it forms two single bonds and one double bond with three other atoms, the type of hybridisation seen in Carbon at that time is sp2. When a Carbon atom forms four single bonds, at that time, it undergoes sp3 hybridization. 


On the basis of which orbitals are involved in hybridization, it is of the following types:

1) sp3

2) sp2

3) sp

4) sp3d

5) sp3d2

6)sp3d3

3. What are the different properties of Carbon dioxide (CO2)? 

Carbon Dioxide is a gas that has a lot of properties. First of all, it doesn't have any colour nor does it have any odour. You can not combust it i.e., it doesn't catch fire. It is a bit toxic which means if you inhale it, your lungs might be harmed. It has more density than air. The melting point and boiling point of CO2 is -55.6°C and -78.5°C respectively. It is water-soluble and with the increase in temperature, its solubility decreases and vice versa.

4. How many types of Hybridization exist in CO2

If you closely observe the structure of CO2, you will see that it has an sp type of hybridization. In this type of hybridization, one atom of Carbon is bonded with two atoms of Oxygen either by two double bonds or by one single bond & one triple bond. The bond angle in a CO2 molecule is 180° and it is Linear in shape. However, if we see atoms separately, the hybridization of the O2 molecule turns out to be sp2. 

5. What is Carbon dioxide and how is it formed? 

Carbon Dioxide is a gas that is acidic and has no colour. The density of Carbon dioxide is higher than that of dry air. It is a greenhouse gas and has almost no odour. It is linear in shape and has a bond angle of 180°. CO2 is formed when a  covalent bond is formed between one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms. It is also exhaled by humans in the earth's atmosphere.