The molar mass of carbon monoxide or CO is 28.01 grams per mole. Scientists determine the molar mass of a compound by adding together the atomic mass of each element contained in the molecule. The atomic mass of carbon is 12.01, and the atomic mass of oxygen is 16.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that forms through the incomplete combustion of carbon compounds. This occurs when there is a limited amount of oxygen available. When exposed to heat in the presence of more oxygen, carbon monoxide burns with a blue flame. Carbon monoxide is poisonous to humans and animals because it binds to the hemoglobin cells in the blood, preventing them from transporting oxygen to the cells of the body.
The mole is the standard unit of measurement in chemistry. One mole of any substance contains 6.0221367E23 of that object. The molar mass of a chemical substance, such as carbon monoxide, represents the weight of that substance measured in the atomic masses in that substance’s formula.
Molar mass is determined by first identifying the elements found in the substance, then counting the atoms found in each element. The next step is to use the periodic table to determine the atomic weight of each of these elements, and to multiply the atomic weight by the number of atoms present for each separate element. Adding the resulting numbers results in the molar mass of the substance.
Knowing the molar mass of a substance can be useful when scientists conduct experiments that call for highly specific quantities of a material, as knowing the molar mass of a substance enables the experimenter to use that substance’s weight to measure the quantity needed. Knowing the molar mass of different elements also allows scientists to determine exactly what percentage of a compound is taken up by each element within it.