Carbon Monoxide

Definition - What does Carbon Monoxide mean?

Carbon Monoxide is a tasteless, colorless and odorless gas which is less dense than the air. When encountered in concentrations of more than 35ppm it becomes toxic to humans. It is produced in the normal metabolism of animals in low quantities and is considered to have ordinary biological functions. It is spatially short-lived and a variable in the atmosphere which plays a role in forming the ground level ozone. The gas contains one carbon atom and one oxygen atom. These two atoms are connected together with a triple bond that contains one dative covalent and two covalent bonds. It is produced from partial oxidation of compounds containing carbon. It is basically produced when oxygen quantities are not enough to form carbon dioxide.

Petropedia explains Carbon Monoxide

With molar mass of 28.0, Carbon Monoxide is lighter than air, which has a molar mass of 28.8. It is a deadly, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of the fuels like wood, coal, oil, charcoal, natural gas, propane and kerosene. Some equipment and products powered by the internal combustion engines like cars, portable generators, power washers and lawn mowers also produce Carbon Monoxide.

Due to the colorless and odorless properties of Carbon Monoxide, it is undetectable and makes it difficult for people to know that they are exposed to it. There are various symptoms of poisoning spread by the gas which begin with flu without fever in the beginning and may include fatigue, headache, nausea, shortness of the breath and dizziness. Excessive exposure to the gas may lead to vomiting, mental confusion, loss of consciousness, muscular coordination and death.

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