Carbon dioxide can be found mainly in air, but also in water as a part of the carbon cycle. We use it all the time, in different forms and throughout our lives. I thought this would be an excellent topic to write about, especially considering how it is so vital to our lives.
On a less personal level, but still vitally important, it captures heat radiated from Earth’s surface. It is that heat keeps the planet warm enough for animal (including human) life to survive and continue to function normally. However, increasing levels of carbon dioxide may have harmful effects on human life on earth too, if the amount being produced keeps on increasing. Of course, it is also needed for respiration. Internal respiration is a process, by which oxygen is transported to body tissues and carbon dioxide is released.
For food and drink, and as a gas it is used in soft drinks and beer, to make them fizzy. It’s only when the carbon dioxide is lost that the fizz is released too. It is also released by baking powder when you are cooking can make cakes rise and also batter to make great food.
For safety purposes, carbon dioxide is used frequently. For example, some fire extinguishers use it because it is denser than air. It prevents oxygen from getting to the fire, so the substance that wants to burn is suffocated of oxygen and cannot continue to burn.
In everyday practical uses it is often used for many other purposes, where a non-flammable gas is required. Life jackets often contain pressured carbon dioxide and rapid vaporisation of liquid CO2 is used for blasting in coal mines.
Of course, carbon dioxide in all forms needs to be gauged and monitored as it can be dangerous. Many people have died from asphyxiation as a result of entry into areas where CO2 has accumulated and displaced oxygen. Of course, it is particularly a danger as it has no distinctive smell (such as sulphur) and so extra caution must be taken when it is used in large levels in industry.
As a result, it is important that those using it must fully understand its physical properties, at varying temperatures and pressures. If these are fully recognised they must then be managed accordingly using the correct gauges and standards.
The human race could not survive without this vital element and it is integral to plants and animals on earth – emphasising its overall importance for us in all ways it is used.
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