4.4.14 Production of Carbon Monoxide

1.Experimenal setup 2.Rising carbon monoxide gas bubbles
Experimenal setup Rising carbon monoxide gas bubbles
3.Carbon monoxide burns with a light blue flame 4.Close-up of flame
Carbon monoxide burns with a light blue flame Close-up of flame

Photo 1:Experimental setup: 20 ml concentrated sulfuric acid and 40 ml formic acid are placed in a test tube. It is plugged with a perforated rubber stopper containing a bent glass tube.

Photo 2:The concentrated sulfuric acid dehydrates the formic acid. Carbon monoxide is produced:

HCOOH                >   CO + H2O

Photo 3, 4:Carbon monoxide is combustible and burns in air with a bluish flame, changing to carbon dioxide.

This is a standard procedure for producing carbon monoxide in the lab.

Safety Precautions:Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas. Its affinity to hemoglobin in the blood is approx. 300 times larger than of oxygen. For this reason, it replaces oxygen in the O2-hemoglobin, and disrupts its function as an oxygen carrier. This causes cell respiration to stop, leading to death. The particular danger of a CO poisoning lies in the fact that a poisoned person cannot simply be saved by transporting them to a CO-free, oxygen-rich environment, since the hemoglobin remains blocked. First artificial respiration with overpressurized pure oxygen must be performed to return the hemoglobin to its original function and with it cell respiration.

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