# Why is sulfur dioxide more massive than carbon dioxide?

Jun 23, 2016

Because the mass of a carbon atom is much less (approx. 1/3) than that of the sulfur atom.

#### Explanation:

When we say 1 mole of stuff, we could equally well say another number, 10 or 12, or 20, or 30.

We use the mole because it is a fact that $1$ mole of ""^1H atoms, i.e. $\text{Avogadro's number, } 6.022 \times {10}^{23} \cdot m o {l}^{-} 1$, has a mass of $1 \cdot g$ precisely. $\text{Avogadro's number}$ is thus the practical link between atoms and molecules, which we can't see, to the macro world of grams and kilograms, that which we can measure out on a bench on a scale, or, as a gas, as a volume in litres.

So I look at the Periodic Table, and it tells me that the atomic mass of elemental $C$ is $12.011 \cdot g \cdot m o {l}^{-} 1$; this is the mass of $\text{Avogadro's number}$ of $C$ atoms (it is non-integral because of the presence of smaller quantities of isotopes of carbon, i.e. ""^13C. Because sulfur has more nuclear particles than carbon, a molar quantity of $S$ has a mass of $32.06 \cdot g$.

I would carefully examine this and test your understanding. If you can grasp the connection between the micro world of atoms and molecules with the macro world of grams, and kilograms, and litres, you will have grasped much of the conceptual basis of undergraduate inorganic chemistry.