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TABLE 3-1 Physical and Chemical Properties of Carbon Dioxidea

Synonyms and trade names

Carbonic acid gas, carbonic anhydride, dry ice

CAS registry number

124-38-9

Molecular formula

CO2

Molecular weight

44.01

Boiling point

Melting point

Sublimes at −78.48°C

Flash point

Explosive limits

Specific gravity

1.527 with respect to air

Vapor pressure

569.1 mmHg at −82°C

Solubility

Solubility in H2O at 20°C, 760 mmHg = 88 mL CO2/100 mL H2O; less soluble in alcohol and other neutral organic solvents

Conversion factors

1 ppm = 1.80 mg/m3; 1 mg/m3 = 0.56 ppm

aData were taken from Budavari et al. (1989).

Abbreviations: mg/m3, milligrams per cubic meter; mL, milliliters; mmHg, millimeters of mercury; ppm, parts per million; —, not available or not applicable.

Submarine crew are reported to be the major source of CO2 on board submarines (Crawl 2003). Data collected on nine nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 3,500 ppm with a range of 0-10,600 ppm, and data collected on 10 nuclear-powered attack submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 4,100 ppm with a range of 300-11,300 ppm (Hagar 2003).

SUMMARY OF TOXICITY

The information below was taken largely from a more comprehensive review, Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentrations for Selected Airborne Contaminants, Volume 2 (NRC 1996). The studies discussed represent those most relevant to submariners and the submarine environment.

CO2 is a simple asphyxiant and lethal asphyxiations have been reported at concentrations as low as 110,000 ppm (Hamilton and Hardy 1974). Loss of consciousness can occur within a minute of exposure at 300,000 ppm and within 5-10 minutes (min) of exposure at 100,000 ppm (HSDB 2004). The effects of concentrations of CO2 between 7,000 and 300,000 ppm in humans and animals are discussed below and include



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