There seems to be differences of opinions on the properties of carbon
monoxide gas. One source says its heavier than air another says its
lighter, so.......is it heavier or lighter than air?
To be honest I rather trust the info from this forum than various
websites and media types.
And you slept though Chemistry, saying "when will I ever use this boring
CO: 12+16=28, .vs. air, a mixture of 78% 14+14 (N2) and 21% 16+16 (O2),
plus 1% others. So, slightly lighter than air. But not much. And very,
very deadly in high concentrations - read a bit on the wood/biomass
gasification websites to be reminded - evidently the old "head in the
oven" method of suicide dated back to cooking gas that was mostly CO,
and 1 or two deep breaths would do the job...
Don't know what you are doing, but I suggest a CO meter/alarm with a
digital readout - $50 bucks or so, well spent.
Air is a mixture of about 80% nitrogen (molecular weight approx. 28)
and 20% oxygen (molecular weight approx. 32). Carbon monoxide has a
molecular weight of approximately 28. So it's very slightly lighter
That only matters for a short while, though. Because it won't be too
long before the gases mix thoroughly, regardless of their densities.
How long is hard to say. You can calculate the time for perfectly
still gases, but it's drastically reduced when the gases are stirred up
even a little bit, as they are by people moving around, changes in
barometric pressure, etc.
It is slightly lighter than air. It also enters the blood stream around 300
times easier than oxygen, IIRC from my medical training.
If you suspect you or someone is affected, look at their nails. Cyanosis,
bluing of nailbeds and lips, is a sign.
As another poster said, get a good CO alarm. This is one that has a
constant digital readout of what the CO is at any moment, as well as a
memory. If the danger level is 400ppm, I don't want to wait until then. Or
if it only goes up to 396, and the alarm doesn't sound. By then, you will
have a doozy of a headache, and feel bad for a while.
CO is lethal and kills people every day. One of the things that makes it so
lethal is that it is silent and odorless. Get a good detector. I have
The worst things about CO are that it sticks to hemoglobin better than
oxygen and that it accumulates in your blood. So even with very small
amounts present in the air you can be poisoned and die. This is also
why just removing someone from exposure to the gas won't guarantee
survival. I believe it also affects other organs besides the brain.
Interestingly this is absolutely untrue.
CO poisioning exhibits itself as nail beds, lips, etc as being
bright cherry red.
Carboxyhemolglogin is every bit as red as the oxygenated
variety - even more so.
In fact this is a strong indicator of CO exposure.
this is something i don't understand and have been wanting to ask here.
there have been posts about filling vessels with internal combustion engine
exhaust fumes as a in-a-pinch back purge. thing i was wondering was, isn't
carbon monoxide (as a component of exhaust gases) flammable/explosive?
isn't carbon monoxide what is produced as "fuel" in a wood gassification
That's usually a sign that they're already dead (or good as). CO is
hazardous enough that it has a good chance of killing long before
visible signs are evident. And for that matter they'll turn a deep pink
from CO, rather than blue.
For chronic low-level CO exposure, a slight headache might be all the
symptomatic indication you get. Then one day the wind is blowing the
other way down your gas heater flue and you wind up dead instead. Back
in the days of individual room gas heaters (coal gas) we really did lose
an awful lot of people to these accidents.
The point with inert gas filling is to displace _oxygen_, usually
because the vessel is already unavoidably full of some flammable
hydrocarbon. If you can't stop there being fuel present, shut off the
Yes but only if oxygen is present. The idea is that you fill the
tank with motor exhaust fumes which are effectively depleted of
oxygen thus any explosive/flamable vapor can ignite because there
is no oxygen present. Many people get the same results by
purging with c02 fir extinguisher. I don't know how effective it
was [tank did not explode] but I have seen several welders squirt
the shielding gas from their metal-arc systems to displace the
air before tig welding on a gas tank.
Same idea is used in many military aircraft. After the fuel tank
explosion on flight 800 aircraft civilian aircraft were supposed
to do this also. Should be accomplished by about 2050.
Yep, but it seems they have disconnecte dit on lots of the latest
versions of fighters....They used to use Halon 1301 as a fuel tank
inerting agent...Cargo types use a foam of some sort that is flame
proof and takes up a lot of space but is somehow supposed to still
allow sufficient fuel capacity.......IIRC its a blue color......F-16's
used Halon but somewhere along the line the USAF dropped it like a hot
potatoe.......and deactivated all the systems. I don;t know if its
fact or not, but was told they now have installed a nitrogen system
in its place, however the jets at my old unit still do not have any
inerting systems installed and they rotate in and out of the Iraqi
theater continually so its not like they may not be exposed to combat
conditions so there is not a need for it......
As to flight 800.......its amazing what and how a lot of aircraft
civil and military alike have tons of wiring running in and around
fuel cells......The F-16 has some pretty major wire bundles routed
right through the main fuel cells in nothing more than a thin wall
alum tube or just a grommet and no tube.......or conduit.......and
just about all connections are common electrical crimp on connections
on things like fuel probes (low voltage type) but these same aircraft
get hit by lightning all the time and have lots of burned through
insulation. most of the wires used was that crappy kapton type
insulated stuff which is about as durable as the coating on an
electric motors windings.......While the AC pack helped create flight
800's unsafe condition with heating of the fuel, I just can't seem to
think military aircraft are just as prone, since on most fighters the
entire fusealage surounds the engines and in that fusealage is a tank
for fuel where ever they can be placed.....In a way I believe what
NTSB found with 800, but in other ways I don't buy it all as they
CO is combustible in air, but has a pretty high auto igntion
temperature. Typical exhaust CO level from a gasoline engine is that
is operating at a stoichometric air fuel ratio is around 0.5 to 1%.
Stoic. on a gasoline engine is about 14.7:1 air to fuel ratio on a mass
basis. CO goes concentration goes up very quickly if the engine is
running rich of stoic. or has poor cylinder to cylinder fuel
distribution, or a missfire. An engine will run quite nicely at 5% CO.
Unfortunatly, if the engine fuel distribution is bad or the engine is
missfiring, the O2 concentration in the exhaust will also go up. If a
gasoline engine is running at stoic, and has good fuel distribution,
the exhaust could be fairly "inert", but this cannot be counted on
unless it is being monitored with a gas analyzer. With after
treatment, ie. a functioning catalyst and running at stoic., CO and HC
exhaust c> > There seems to be differences of opinions on the properties of carbon
i figured someone was going to say that. so, if you can use a flammable gas
(carbon monoxide) to displace oxygen, couldn't you purge the oxygen out of
the tank with propane? i understand the idea of purging oxygen to prevent
fire/explosion but it doesn't make sense to me to use a flammable gas to do
so (but i don't have as much experience as you guys).
Look at a chemical chart -
Carbon Nitrogen oxygen are in those three positions.
6 ele 7 ele 8 ele ele= electrons
Since air is 70%+ Nitrogen, < 30% Oxygen -
CO indicates a 50% mixture - of carbon to Oxygen.
5*6 + 5*8 ~ 70 for CO - 7*7 + 3*8 ~ 73 So by electron count - CO is lighter.
The mass of each atom is :
12.+ , 14.+ , 16.00 so with mass : 5*12 + 5*16 = 140 while 7*14 + 3*16 = 146
So when we do a better job with mass values - CO is just lighter.
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