Simple Knowledge

Simple Knowledge

What is H2O and CO2? H2O and CO2 are chemical equations that are commonly found in chemistry. However, does anyone really know what H2O and CO2 means? These equations are some of the basic forms of chemistry, which deals with water and air. H2O officially means water, but what it really means is hydrogen + oxygen and without these gases ships, boats and any other object would not be capable of floating. Why do some objects float? Certain objects float, because hydrogen and oxygen contain something called buoyancy. Buoyancy is the ability of an object to float. CO2 truly means carbon + oxygen or carbon dioxide. Perhaps the best way to discover the true nature of buoyancy, one may look at oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, and buoyancy its self.

The earth's crust contains one element or gas that is above all other elements and that element is oxygen. No one can see, hear, or feel this gas, but every living creature and thing uses it in some way. Animals and humans use it to live and plants use it to process food. Oxygen possesses about one-fifth of the air that is breathed by animals and humans. Oxygen can combine with so many different types of elements that it is part of nearly all natural occurrence in the earth atmosphere, especially when it involves water (John Farndon. The Elements: Oxygen. 4-5). However, oxygen does not have any form of buoyancy until it hooks up with hydrogen.

Hydrogen also does not have any form of buoyancy until it marries oxygen and has a baby named water. But until hydrogen meets oxygen, hydrogen is on its own being the lightest of all gases (John Farndon. The Elements: Hydrogen. 4-5, 26-27). Hydrogen is lighter than oxygen and carbon put together, even though it is the ninth most abundant element in the earth's crust. Other than just making water with oxygen, hydrogen can make other things with other elements too, such as Hydrogen Sulfide, Hydrogen Cyanide, Hydrogenation, Carbohydrates, Hydrocarbons, and Hydrogen Peroxide, which are only a few. Hydrogen Peroxide, however, is also when hydrogen marries oxygen, but it marries two sets of oxygen as opposed to one set of oxygen (Linda Saucerman. 4-34).

The sixth most abundant element in the earth's crust is carbon. When carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen hook up they form natural compounds like sugars and starches, which are some of the most important things for life in animals and humans. Carbon dioxide is a very, extremely popular substance in today's cloture, because it is the basis for carbonated water or in other words, sodas and fizzy drinks. Carbon also has no form of buoyancy until it meets oxygen and hydrogen, but only if hydrogen and oxygen have already made water. Carbon can be found all around. It is in the air, in the food, in nature itself, but most defiantly in water, along with hydrogen and oxygen. Carbon dissolves in water causing it to foam, such as one may find in a carbonated drink. (Brian Knapp. 4, 10-11, 14-15, 18-19).

Buoyancy is not an element, it is the product of a compound that forms a liquid. Buoyancy is relatively hard to understand for most people, because most people will just accept the fact that things float, although they don't really understand it. It is obvious that certain things do float, while others things do not, but what actually makes them float? According to Pascal's Principle, “the pressure applied to any surface of a confined fluid is transmitted equally in every direction throughout the fluid.” In other words, the pressure applied (the floating object) to a fluid will cause water to move out of the way of the object in order for the object to float. Archimedes was perhaps the first to discover the true abilities of buoyancy when he solved a problem for his king. The king believed that a goldsmith had cheated him and asked Archimedes to find out weather or not his acquisitions were correct. In the end Archimedes did discovered that the goldsmith had cheated the king. He found it out thanks to buoyancy. In Archimedes' Principle of Buoyancy he states that “weight lost by an object immersed in a fluid is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced.” Swimming is the perfect example of this. When in a pool of water, someone may feel lighter than they feel out of water, but they are not really lighter. The water just moved evenly around them and caused an equal amount of water to be displaced as their own body weight. An object will apply a force pushing downward upon the fluid, while the fluid is applying a force pushing upward, causing many objects to float (Delores Shimmin. 145, 160-161, 164).

H2O is a chemical formula, which represents water. A water molecule has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom bonded together. Hydrogen oxide is a special name or chemical name given to water, because of its distinct hydrogen and oxygen counterparts. Interestingly, pure water is rare, because it is a good solvent. Water that comes from the ground tends to have more things in it, such as random stuff like debris and things that animals, who swim in the water, leave behind. However, it is possible to reverse a solvent and turn water back into its pure form by distillation for drinking water or by a more efficient way called deionization (Smith, Clarke, and Henderson. 22-25).

CO2 is a chemical formula, which represents carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide happens to be a gas or element formed by two oxygen atoms and a one carbon atom compound. Interestingly, there is approximately 0.03% carbon dioxide consuming the air in the atmosphere, but oxygen is still the most dominant gas in the air. When dissolved in water carbon becomes a feeble form of carbonic acid. Carbonated water is formed mostly by dissolving CO2 under pressure, and when released, it begins to foam (Smith, Clarke, and Henderson. 12-13).

In conclusion, one can see that perhaps the most common and related factor among the elements oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon, and buoyancy, although it is not an element, is water or H2O. Water (H2O) is one of chemistries favored compounds and the worlds most highly consumed substance, water also makes up a large amount of humans body weight. Because Chemistry is a science full of knowledge it can at times get confusing and hard to understand with so many chemical symbols representing things such as H2O and CO2, but when one breaks it down it becomes much simpler to understand.


Farndon, John. The Elements: Oxygen. Benchmark Books. New York: Tarrytown, 1999.

Farndon, John. The Elements: Hydrogen. Benchmark Books. New York: Tarrytown, 2000.

Saucerman, Linda. Understanding the Elements of the Periodic Table: HYDROGEN. 1st ed. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. New York: 29 East 21st Street, 2005.

Knapp, Brian. Elements: CARBON. Ed. Elizabeth Walker, BA. Vol. 8. Grolier Educational. Connecticut: Danbury, 1996.

Smith, Alastair. Phillip Clarke. and Corinne Henderson. The Usborne Internet - Linked Library of Science: MIXTURES & COMPOUNDS. Ed. Laura Howell. Usborne Publishing Ltd. London, England, 2001.

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