# why CO2 is not organic [duplicate]

this might be very childish question but i am comfused because they say that organic molecules are those that contain H and C if that is so how can you call carbontetrachloride organic, even it hasn't any H atoms

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• Don't listen to them. I would say $CO_2$, $CH_4$, $CCl_4$ are all organic. This type of classification has no real use anyway. – Ich bin ein gäst Feb 12 '14 at 19:54
• – Loong Jul 7 '15 at 17:12

Carbon dioxide "is" neither organic nor inorganic, it's just carbon dioxide. This distinction is nothing but a convention to separate things between the textbooks and professors. Carbon dioxide forms carbonic acid in water and the usual salts. This was/is reason to think of it as inorganic. On the other hand, urea, the diamide of carbonic acid was thought to be organic when Wöhler synthesized urea for the first time in lab, today it is categorized as inorganic.

An organic compound

1) must be a (stoichiometric) compound. Graphite, diamond, buckyballs, polycarbyne, etc. are not compounds.
2) must contain reduced carbon, at least one C-C or C-H bond. Carbon tet is inorganic, chloroform is organic. Urea, guanidine, cyanuric acid, isocyanic acid, melamine are inorganic.

Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, phosgene, carbonic acid are inorganic. Ethylene carbonate, vinylene carbonate, oxalic acid, formic acid, dichloroacetylene are organic. Aluminum carbide, $\ce{Al4C3}$, is inorganic (hydrolyzes to methane). Calcium carbide, $\ce{CaC2}$ is organic (hydrolyzes to acetylene).

• Buckyballs aren't compounds? Are you sure about that? – buckminst Jul 7 '15 at 19:18

The C-H bond has a lower bond energy than the carbon-oxygen bond in carbon dioxide, making carbon dioxide more stable/less reactive than the typical organic compound. So, when you're determining whether a carbon compound is organic or not, look to see whether it contains hydrogen in addition to carbon and whether the carbon is bonded to the hydrogen.

• According to this definition, hexachlorobenzene and tetrafluorethen are not organic. – Klaus-Dieter Warzecha Feb 14 '14 at 17:23