When solid Carbon dioxide is hit gently with a hammer, it breaks into small pieces. What tyoe of bond is broken in this process?I know that carbon dioxide is a covalent molecular substance. I just...

When solid Carbon dioxide is hit gently with a hammer, it breaks into small pieces. What tyoe of bond is broken in this process?

I know that carbon dioxide is a covalent molecular substance. I just want to know  if the actual covalent bonds are broken or is it just the intermolecular forecs (van der waals) between the molecules?

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mlsiasebs's profile pic

mlsiasebs | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Remember that solid carbon dioxide (CO2) will sublime into gas phase carbon dioxide.  Breaking dry ice into smaller pieces does not change anything about the structure of the CO2 molecules; the atoms are still bound together by covalent bonds.

Hitting dry ice with a hammer will result in the molecules breaking apart from one another which means that we are breaking the intermolecular forces.  If we look at the Lewis structure of carbon dioxide, we'll see that it has a linear electron pair geometry and molecular geometry (shape), which results it in a non-polar compound containing only dispersion forces. 

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fosterelliot's profile pic

fosterelliot | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

You are breaking the intermolecular forces between the molecules of the carbon dioxide. This is because the state is not changing you are just breaking the size down. Carbon dioxide is a simple molecule and the atoms are held together through strong covalent bonds as both elements are non metals.

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