Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Carbon Dioxide Experiment
Name: Mustafa  Jamaly
Status: student
Age: 10
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1999

Is there any experiment that I can do with carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide has very rich chemistry. However, I can not recommend working with CO, because it is extremely toxic, colorless, and odorless. In other words, you can be poisoned before you know it. Experiments with carbon monoxide are performed in special laboratories with controlled ventilation and dedicated carbon dioxide detectors, and only specially trained people are allowed to do the work.

Richard Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Chemical Separations Group
Argonne National Laboratory

I don't think you should do any experiments with carbon monoxide. It is a very dangerous gas. If you breathe it you may die.

You can do some experiments with carbon dioxide instead. Carbon dioxide is harmless. You can breathe as much of it as you want. Here's an experiment you can do: get three balloons. Fill one of them up with air, one of them up with helium, and one of them up with carbon dioxide. Compare the weights of the balloons. The helium balloon will be so light it will float in air. The carbon dioxide balloon should be heavier than the air balloon. This will let you talk about the different densities of the 3 gases, and how the density determines whether the balloon will float or sink in air.

You can get helium for your balloon from a flower shop. Carbon dioxide will be harder, perhaps it would be best to get some dry ice, put it in a small plastic container with a thin tube leading out of it, let the dry ice evaporate for a while to chase the air out of the container, then collect the gas in a big bag, and finally use the bag to inflate your balloon.


Click here to return to the Chemistry Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory