How to Calculate the Volume of CO2

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Calculate the volume of CO2 produced in a chemical reaction by measuring the masses of the reactants (compounds caused to react, often in the presence of a catalyst, to make products) and by calculating, from the reaction equation, the moles (the standard unit to describe the amount of substance) of reactants in the equation. By calculating the moles of reactants, you can figure out the moles produced of products and, subsequently, the volume of product gas produced.

    Use a balance to weigh reactants in grams. Calculate the moles of each reactant by dividing the mass that you have of each reactant by the molar masses of reactants, which you can obtain from a periodic table.

    Determine the stoichiometric ratio of moles of any reactant to moles of CO2. For instance, if your equation is CaC03 + 2HCL => CaCl2 + CO2 + H2O, then the ratio of moles of CaCO3 to CO2 is 1:1. For every mole of CaCO3 that you are using, you have one mole of CO2. Alternatively, for every two moles of HCl, you have one mole of CO2.

    Calculate moles of CO2 produced. If you are starting with one mole of CaCO3, then you might expect to produce one mole of CO2. But how many moles of CaCO3 did you determine in Step 1? That number is equal to the moles of CO2 produced. You could also use moles of HCl, divided by two, to calculate moles of CO2 produced.

    Calculate volume of CO2 produced. The volume of one mole of CO2 produced is 24 dm^3 at room temperature and pressure. Alternatively, if your reaction took place at standard temperature and pressure (273 K, 1 atm), then the molar volume is 22.4 dm^3. Multiply the number of moles produced, calculated in Step 3, by the molar volume to calculate the volume of gas produced.


About the Author

Tricia Lobo has been writing since 2006. Her biomedical engineering research, "Biocompatible and pH sensitive PLGA encapsulated MnO nanocrystals for molecular and cellular MRI," was accepted in 2010 for publication in the journal "Nanoletters." Lobo earned her Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering, with distinction, from Yale in 2010.