carbon monoxide


carbon monoxide
a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas, CO, that burns with a pale-blue flame, produced when carbon burns with insufficient air: used chiefly in organic synthesis, metallurgy, and in the preparation of metal carbonyls, as nickel carbonyl.
[1870-75]

* * *

Inorganic compound, a highly toxic, colourless, odourless, flammable gas, chemical formula CO. It is produced when carbon (including coal and coke) or carbon-containing fuel (including petroleum hydrocarbons; e.g., gasoline, fuel oil) does not burn completely to carbon dioxide, because of insufficient oxygen.

CO is present in the exhaust gases of internal combustion engines and furnaces. It is toxic because it binds to hemoglobin in blood much more strongly than does oxygen and thus interferes with transport of oxygen from lungs to tissues (see hypoxia; respiration). Symptoms of CO poisoning range from headache, nausea, and syncope to coma, weak pulse, respiratory failure, and death. CO is used industrially as a fuel and in synthesis of numerous organic compounds, including methanol, ethylene, and aldehydes.

* * *

      (CO), a highly toxic, colourless, odourless, flammable gas produced industrially for use in the manufacture of numerous organic and inorganic chemical products; it is also present in the exhaust gases of internal-combustion engines and furnaces as a result of incomplete conversion of carbon or carbon-containing fuels to carbon dioxide.

      Carbon monoxide's toxicity is a consequence of its absorption by red blood cells in preference to oxygen, thus interfering with the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the tissues, in which it is required. Indication of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, fainting, and, in severe cases, coma, weak pulse, and respiratory failure. Treatment must be prompt and includes respiratory assistance and the administration of oxygen, often with 5 percent carbon dioxide and sometimes under high pressure.

      For use in manufacturing processes, carbon monoxide is made by passing air through a bed of incandescent coke or coal, or by the reaction of natural gas with oxygen at high temperatures in the presence of a catalyst. The carbon monoxide resulting from these processes generally is contaminated with other substances, such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide, which may be removed if they are undesirable in the intended application.

      Carbon monoxide condenses to the liquid at -192° C (-314° F) and it freezes at -199° C (-326° F). It is only slightly soluble in water, and its physical properties closely resemble those of nitrogen.

      Carbon monoxide reacts with water vapour at high temperatures, forming carbon dioxide and hydrogen; this process has been used as a source of hydrogen for combination with nitrogen in the synthesis of ammonia. With caustic alkalies, carbon monoxide forms alkali formates, which can be converted into either formic acid or alkali oxalates for the production of oxalic acid. With certain metals, carbon monoxide forms compounds called carbonyls, many of which are volatile; this reaction has been used in the purification of nickel. Carbon monoxide and hydrogen are the starting materials in the manufacture of methanol and also are used in the preparation of aldehydes and alcohols from olefins and in making mixtures of liquid hydrocarbons suitable for use as fuels. Gas mixtures containing varying ratios of carbon monoxide and molecular hydrogen are called synthesis gas.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • carbon monoxide — n a colorless odorless very toxic gas CO that burns to carbon dioxide with a blue flame and is formed as a product of the incomplete combustion of carbon * * * a colourless almost odourless gas that is very poisonous. When breathed in it combines …   Medical dictionary

  • Carbon monoxide — Carbon Car bon (k[aum]r b[o^]n), n. [F. carbone, fr. L. carbo coal; cf. Skr. [,c]r[=a] to cook.] (Chem.) 1. An elementary substance, not metallic in its nature, which is present in all organic compounds. Atomic weight 11.97. Symbol C. it is… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • carbon monoxide — UK US noun [U] ► ENVIRONMENT a poisonous gas formed when carbon is not burned completely, produced by vehicles and by heating equipment that is not working properly: »carbon monoxide poisoning/buildup/exposure → Compare CARBON DIOXIDE(Cf. ↑carbon …   Financial and business terms

  • carbon monoxide — 1873, so called because it consists of one carbon and one oxygen atom (as opposed to carbon dioxide, which has two of the latter) …   Etymology dictionary

  • carbon monoxide — ► NOUN ▪ a colourless, odourless toxic flammable gas formed by incomplete combustion of carbon …   English terms dictionary

  • carbon monoxide — n. a colorless, odorless, highly poisonous gas, CO, produced by the incomplete combustion of carbonaceous material: it burns with a pale blue flame …   English World dictionary

  • Carbon monoxide — chembox Name = Carbon monoxide ImageFileL1 = Carbon monoxide 2D.svg ImageSizeL1 = 100px ImageNameL1 = Structure of the carbon monoxide molecule ImageFileR1 = Carbon monoxide 3D vdW.png ImageSizeR1 = 120px ImageNameR1 = Space filling model of the… …   Wikipedia

  • carbon monoxide — noun an odorless very poisonous gas that is a product of incomplete combustion of carbon • Syn: ↑carbon monoxide gas, ↑CO • Hypernyms: ↑monoxide * * * ˌcarbon monˈoxide [carbon monoxide] [ˌkɑːbən mənˈɒksaɪd] …   Useful english dictionary

  • carbon monoxide — Carbonic Car*bon ic, a. [Cf. F. carbonique. See {Carbon}.] (Chem.) Of, pertaining to, or obtained from, carbon; as, carbonic oxide. [1913 Webster] {Carbonic acid} (Chem.), an acid {HO.CO.OH}, not existing separately, which, combined with positive …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • carbon monoxide — N UNCOUNT Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is produced especially by the engines of vehicles. The limit for carbon monoxide is 4.5 per cent of the exhaust gas …   English dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.