answersLogoWhite
Science
Ecosystems
Elements and Compounds

Why can't candles burn in carbon dioxide?


Top Answer
User Avatar
Wiki User
2007-08-23 20:36:45
2007-08-23 20:36:45

For combustion to occur (that is, a fire to start), oxygen must be present. In an anaerobic environment where oxygen is not present, there can be no combustion reaction. Even though Carbon dioxide contains oxygen (the oxide in dioxide) it must exist as oxygen gas for a fire to start, the carbon and oxygen in CO2 are bonded so tightly that normal reactions cannot separate the two in order for the combustible material to use it. I'm having a hard time attempting to paint a picture of how this works. Imagine this, when a person or animal suffocates due to "lack of oxygen" it is not actually the lack of oxygen that kills them, it is the over abundance of carbon dioxide. When you breath in, you are breathing in everything in the atmosphere, oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and argon. Your body utilizes the oxygen, nitrogen and argon, but it cannot utilize the CO2 so you get rid of it when you exhale. When put into an airtight environment eventually you will have replaced most of the oxygen with carbon dioxide and will only be breathing the CO2 in and since the bonds are too strong for your body to break the carbon and oxygen apart the carbon dioxide is useless to us and our organs and blood do not get the oxygen they need and suffocation occurs. Hopefully this will help you understand a little better that nothing can remove the oxygen from carbon dioxide and like our bodies a flame cannot sustain life with carbon dioxide alone.

Related Questions

User Avatar

this is a simple answer carbon dioxide and we would either freeze or burn to a crisp

User Avatar

its not poinus because carbon dioxide is what we cant breathe in

User Avatar

its the air around them and the carbon dioxide...without the carbon dioxide, plants cant survive!

User Avatar

No, we cant breath all of the gases for example we cant breath carbon dioxide


Copyright © 2020 Multiply Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The material on this site can not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Multiply.