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My question is very simple. How big is a carbon dioxide ($\mathrm{CO}_2$) molecule, i.e. the width, length and height of it?

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closed as too localized by David Z Apr 7 '12 at 21:01

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Hi TWCrap, and welcome to Physics Stack Exchange! This site is not the place to ask simple reference questions. You can look up something like this on Wikipedia or in a chemistry reference book. See our meta site for more information. –  David Z Apr 7 '12 at 21:05
i'm already looking, but i'm not (yet) into the world of scientist... So i hoped i could get this little bit of information from you guys, but then not..... –  Mathlight Apr 7 '12 at 21:12
It's about $5\times 10^{-10}$ meters across, give or take a factor of 2. (This was not a nucleus-to-nucleus number, which I now see is 2.32 not 5 Angstroms. The answer is therefore 3 Angstroms from end to end. –  Ron Maimon Apr 7 '12 at 23:41

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

$CO_2$ molecule

enter image description here

The molecule is linear (all three atoms are in a co-linear line). The C=O bond is 116 pm, so the entire molecule (from centre of O to other O) is 232 pm. The extent in the other directions normal to the axis of symmetry is not well-defined as the electron cloud is diffuse and depends significantly on environment.

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alright, i've got to admit, that i'm not an scientist... so i've you take a millimeter, how far beyond the dot (0.000.....) must i go before i see these numbers (232 pm)... Thanks :P –  Mathlight Apr 7 '12 at 21:03
picometer is $10^{-12} m$ i.e. a decimal followed by 11 zeros. –  Vineet Menon Apr 8 '12 at 6:23
alright, so it is around the 0,000 000 000 232 meter... thanks for your help. –  Mathlight Apr 10 '12 at 9:40

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