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Carbonous Acid Formula – Structure, Properties, Uses, Sample Questions

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  • Last Updated : 01 May, 2022

Carbon (C), is a nonmetallic chemical element in Group 14 (IVa) of the periodic table. The name comes from the Latin word carbo means “coal” with the symbol c and atomic number 6. At room temperature, it is in a solid state. Carbon exists in different forms, including graphite, diamond, and graphene. It has a Melting point of 3,550˚C (6,420°F), a Boiling point of 4,827°C (8,721°F), and atomic weight is 12.0096 to 12.0116 u.

Carbonous acid is also known as Formic acid. It’s naturally present in the bees and ants. It is the strongest carboxylic acid. It has a pungent odor. It is used as a preservative due to its low toxicity. It is a colorless fuming liquid. It has a density of 1.2126 g/ml. It has the reducing properties of aldehydes. It is low toxicity and even at lower concentrations, it’s much more effective. Its chemical formula is CH2O2.

Carbonous acid Formula

CH2O2 is the chemical name of Carbonous acid. It has a molar mass of 46.025 g/mol. It has a boiling point of 100.8˚C. It additionally utilizes it in place of mineral acids.

Structure of Carbonous acid 


Preparation of Carbonous acid

  • When methanol and carbon monoxide gas are combined within the presence of a robust base, that results in methyl formate.


  • By treating the methyl formate with ammonia to provide formamide, which is then hydrolyzed with sulfuric acid,


2HCONH2 + 2H2O + H2SO4 → 2HCO2H + (NH4)2SO4

  • We get propenyl alcohol after the reaction to heat. The reaction is thus:

C2O4H2 → CO2H2 + CO2

Physical properties of Carbonous acid

  • Carbonous acid is a colorless fuming liquid. 
  • It has a melting point of 8.4˚C.
  • Carbonous acid has a density of 1.220 g/ml.
  • The boiling point of Carbonous acid is 100.8˚C.
  • It has a molar mass of 46.025 g/mol.
  • Carbonous acid has a pungent odor.

Chemical properties of Carbonous acid

  • The Eschweiler-Clarke reaction and the Leuckart-Wallach reaction are chemical reactions of carbonous acid.

CH2O2 + H2SO4 → H2SO4 + H2O + CO

It readily decomposes with concentrated vitriol to make carbon monoxide gas.

Uses of Carbonous acid

  • It is used as an antibacterial agent.
  • Beekeepers use it as a miticide against the tracheal mite.
  • In livestock feed, used as a preservative.
  • It is used in the production of leather.
  • It is used in the production of rubber.
  • Carbonous acid can be used for cleaning like limescale remover.

Sample Questions

Question 1: How do ants produce formic acid?


Wood ants battle microbes by incorporating tree resin with antimicrobial properties into their nests. They also produce huge amounts of formic acid in their toxic gland, which they promptly spray to shield or sanitize their nest.

Question 2: What type of compound is HCO2H?


Carboxylic acid, Formic Acid (also known as methanoic acid) is the simplest carboxylic acid. Its formula is HCOOH. It is a significant intermediate in chemical synthesis and occurs naturally, mostly in ant and bee venom.

Question 3: Is H2CO2 a strong acid?


It is a weak acid. Its pH is 3.75. A strong acid is an acid that dissociates entirely in an aqueous solution whereas a weak acid is an acid that dissociates partially in an aqueous solution.

Question 4: Is red ant containing any acid?


Formic acid, In Latin, the name of an ant is called Formica. Thus, the acid that presents in the body is called formic acid. According to IUPAC nomenclature, formic acid is also known as Methanoic acid.

Question 5: Why is carbon monoxide more poisonous than carbon dioxide?


Carbon monoxide (CO) is viewed as more harmful or unsafe than Carbon Dioxide (CO2) because of the way that CO responds with the hemoglobin in our circulation systems and produces a steady compound that really keeps oxygen from entering the body.

Question 6: What are the uses of Carbonous acid?


  1. It has low toxicity since it is used as a preservative. 
  2. Carbonous acid can be used for cleaning products like limescale remover.
  3. Beekeepers use it as a miticide against the tracheal mite.
  4. It can be utilized in place of mineral acids.

Question 7: Why is CO called the silent killer?


It is known as the “silent killer” since it is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and non-disturbing. On the off chance that the early indications of CO poisoning are disregarded, an individual might pass out and not be able to get away from the risk. A greater number of individuals die from carbon monoxide openness than some other sort of poising.

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