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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Why Carbon Dioxide Isn't an Organic Compound

By August 19, 2013

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Carbon Dioxide (Ben Mills)If organic chemistry is the study of carbon, then why isn't carbon dioxide considered to be an organic compound? The answer is because organic molecules don't just contain carbon. They contain hydrocarbons or carbon bonded to hydrogen. The C-H bond has a lower bond energy than the carbon-oxygen bond in carbon dioxide, making carbon dioxide more stable/less reactive than the typical organic compound. So, when you're determining whether a carbon compound is organic or not, look to see whether it contains hydrogen in addition to carbon and whether the carbon is bonded to the hydrogen. Make sense?

Intro to Organic Chemistry | List of Organic Compounds


February 20, 2012 at 4:52 am
(1) Atif says:

So tell me in urea molecule C–N Bond have also less bond energy so why it is organic molecule?

August 18, 2012 at 9:32 am
(2) SC Khurana says:

Is carbon tetrachloride then not an Organic compound?

August 23, 2012 at 7:25 am
(3) sarang says:

organic compound:

1] compounds which contain C-H bond. They can be living or non living.
e.g.- living : carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, amino acids.
non-living : aldehydes, ketons, alcohols, carboxylic acid.

2] compounds which contain only C. But in this case, it has to be living.
e.g. urea. And that is why co2 is not organic.

August 28, 2012 at 9:17 am
(4) diomaro says:

why isnt co2 considered as an inorganic compound the answer is a compound which must contain hydrogen and carbon but carbon dioxide consist carbon only so it is considered as an inorganic compound…….

August 13, 2013 at 11:39 am
(5) bhawna says:

Is CS2 also is not a inorganic compound?

August 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm
(6) Alan Crooks says:

Carbonm tetrachloride (aka tetrachloromethane) is fully-substituted methane – which does contain carbon and is therefore organic. Presumably this is why TCM is also considered organic . CS2 is inorganic.

September 9, 2013 at 9:36 pm
(7) mayra says:

well how do u know that carbon dioxide is a element or compound pr mixture

September 11, 2013 at 11:58 pm
(8) Bhagwan sharma says:

When carbondioxide react with water it forms carbonic acid then carbonic acid react with base and it forms inorganic compds eg.salts. so co2 is inorganic compd

September 23, 2013 at 7:22 pm
(9) R James says:

I looked in all my old organic chemistry text books from 50 years ago. They clearly define organic chemistry as “the chemistry of the compounds of carbon”. Nothing about needing a C/H bond. As far as I’m concerned, CO2 is an organic compound.

September 30, 2013 at 10:23 pm
(10) Thomas W says:

If organic chemistry is simply the chemistry of carbon compounds, with no further requirements, then the (geo)chemistry of carbonate rocks ought to be included in organic chemistry. I’ve never encountered it being thus included.

Of course it’s possible organic chemists didn’t even think of carbonates, or if they did considered them unimportant and boring.

November 17, 2013 at 5:57 pm
(11) Harry Negron says:

Carbon dioxide is inorganic. Not because is not bonded to a H atom, but for other reasons:
- CO2 does not exist in any other configuration other than the one we know for CO2. I’ll explain… You can react CCl4 with other compounds and get, for example, (Cl3)C-C(H3), etc but you can’t do that with CO2. If you react CO2 with anything it will usually form a salt or an acid rather than covalently bonding with a net charge of zero as organic molecules tend to do.

April 30, 2014 at 6:49 pm
(12) sarana says:

If you wanna know how to differenciate them you need to know the PREFIX & SUFFIX of organic compounds cuz it really helps you not by the elements but by their names.

May 7, 2014 at 10:03 am
(13) fdsf says:

so is it synthetic?

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