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Thursday, December 04, 2014

I'm thankful for Carbon Dioxide. You should be, too.

Thankful for Carbon Dioxide

I'm thankful for carbon dioxide. You should be, too.

The most important reason is that carbon dioxide is one of the raw materials used in photosynthesis. This process, in green plants, makes all our food, directly or indirectly. (Food is something that humans or animals can get energy from. In other words, it has calories. Water, and some other substances we consume, are not food.) Some of our food comes from animals, but the food that these animals use to grow comes from plant sources. When living things get energy out of food, they give off carbon dioxide and water. We breathe out, and get rid of carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is odorless, tasteless, and transparent to light. It is partly responsible for the Greenhouse Effect. Energy, as light, can come through the atmosphere. When it strikes something, some of that energy is converted to heat. Carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases, are not as transparent to heat as they are to light. The result is that heat builds up on the earth. We usually think of that effect as harmful, and it is becoming that way, but without greenhouse gases, the Wikipedia says that the earth's temperature would be well below freezing, in other words, not conducive to life.

There are many industrial, agricultural and household uses for carbon dioxide. Yeast uses sugars for energy, and gives off carbon dioxide as one of the byproducts. Since carbon dioxide is a gas at normal temperatures, that carbon dioxide makes bread rise. The holes in bread are due to carbon dioxide. (It's an odorless, tasteless, transparent gas, so you won't be able to detect it, except by what it does.)

Carbon dioxide dissolves readily in water. When it does, it combines with water to form carbonic acid, a weak acid. Carbonic acid helps water to eat away at certain kinds of rocks, forming various geological formation. Carbonic acid has other important effects. Carbonated drinks have a lot of carbon dioxide dissolved in them, under pressure.

It is possible to lower the temperature of carbon dioxide so that it becomes a solid, so-called dry ice. Dry ice has many uses. Two of these are in storing food, so that it won't spoil, and in creating special effects in theaters and the like -- the ice turns into a gas readily, producing what looks like fog.

Carbon dioxide is used as a refrigerant, and as a fire extinguisher. It has many other uses. See the Wikipedia article on the compound.

I believe, but cannot prove, that carbon dioxide does so many things, some essential to our lives, because God designed it to have the properties that it does. This cannot be disproved, either.

Thanks for reading. Breathe out. You will release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

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