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


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

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ – David Z Apr 7 '12 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ 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..... $\endgroup$ – Mathlight Apr 7 '12 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Apr 7 '12 at 23:41

$CO_2$ 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.

  • $\begingroup$ 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 $\endgroup$ – Mathlight Apr 7 '12 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ picometer is $10^{-12} m$ i.e. a decimal followed by 11 zeros. $\endgroup$ – Vineet Menon Apr 8 '12 at 6:23
  • $\begingroup$ alright, so it is around the 0,000 000 000 232 meter... thanks for your help. $\endgroup$ – Mathlight Apr 10 '12 at 9:40

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.