Carbon dioxide (chemical formula CO2) is a colorless, odorless gas vital to life on Earth. This naturally occurring chemical compound is composed of a carbon atom covalently double bonded to two oxygen atoms. Carbon dioxide exists in the Earth’s atmosphere as a trace gas at a concentration of about 0.04 percent (400 ppm) by volume. Natural sources include volcanoes, hot springs and geysers and it is freed from carbonate rocks by dissolution in water and acids. Since carbon dioxide is soluble in water, it occurs naturally in groundwater, rivers and lakes, in ice caps and glaciers and in seawater. It is present in deposits of petroleum and natural gas.
It is a versatile industrial material, used, for example, as an inert gas in welding and fire extinguishers, as a pressurizing gas in air guns and oil recovery, as a chemical feedstock and in liquid form as a solvent in decaffeination of coffee and supercritical drying. It is added to drinking water and carbonated beverages including beer and champagne to add sparkle. The frozen solid form of CO2, known as “dry ice” is used as a refrigerant and as an abrasive in dry-ice blasting.