Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide

Carbon Monoxide, (CO), a highly toxic, colorless, odorless, 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. 

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.en, often with 5 percent carbon dioxide and sometimes under high pressure.   

  • Colorless, odorless gas
  • Slightly lighter than air
  • Vapor Density (0.97)
  • Chemical asphyxiant
  • Primary source: incomplete combustion of organic material
  • Gasoline-fueled combustion engines