From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This article is about the chemical element and its most stable form, O2 or dioxygen. For other forms of this element, see Allotropes of oxygen. For other uses, see Oxygen (disambiguation). nitrogen ← oxygen → fluorine ↑ O ↓ S

8O Periodic table Appearance

Colorless gas; pale blue liquid. Oxygen bubbles rise in this rotated photo of liquid oxygen.

Spectral lines of oxygen

General properties

Name, symbol,number

oxygen, O, 8 /ˈɒksɪdʒɪn/ OK-si-jin


Element category

nonmetal, chalcogens

Group, period,block

16, 2, p 15.9994g·mol−1 1s2 2s2 2p4

Standard atomic weight

Electron configuration


Electrons per shell

2, 6 (Image)

Physical properties




(0 1.429 g/L




Liquid density atb.p.

1.141 g·cm−3

Melting point

54.36 K, -218.79 °C, -361.82 °F

Boiling point

90.20 K, -182.95 °C, -297.31 °F

Critical point

154.59 K, 5.043 MPa (O2) 0.444 kJ·mol−1 (O2) 6.82 kJ·mol−1

Heat of fusion

Heat of vaporization

Specific heat capacity

(25 29.378 J·mol ·K



Vapor pressure

P (Pa)

1 10



10 k

100 k

at T (K)




Atomic properties 2, 1, −1, (neutral oxide) −2

Oxidation states


3.44 (Pauling scale) energies 1st: 1313.9 kJ·mol−1




2nd: 3388.3 kJ·mol−1 3rd: 5300.5 kJ·mol−1

Covalent radius

66±2 pm

Van der Waals radius

152 pm


Crystal structure


Magnetic ordering

paramagnetic (300 K) 26.58x10-3 W·m−1·K−1

Thermal conductivity

Speed of sound

(gas, 27 °C) 330 m/s

CAS registry number


Most stable isotopes

Main article: Isotopes of oxygen

iso NA





O 99.76%


O is stable with 8 neutrons


O 0.039%


O is stable with 9 neutrons


O 0.201%


O is stable with 10 neutrons

v·d·e Oxygen ( /ˈɒksɪdʒɪn/ OK-si-jin) is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name

derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς (oxys) ("acid", literally "sharp", referring to the sour taste of acids) and -γενής (genēs) ("producer", literally "begetter"), because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition. At standard temperature and pressure, two atoms of the element bind to form dioxygen, a colorless, odorless, tasteless diatomic gas with the formula O2.


algae and plants. in 1774.8% of the volume of air. as do the majorinorganic compounds that comprise animal shells. and life support in aircraft. carbohydrates. All major classes of structural molecules in living organisms. oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe after hydrogen and helium crust. teeth. oxygen therapy.1 Structure 1. but Priestley is often given priority because his work was published first. Oxygen is produced industrially by fractional distillation of liquefied air. The name oxygen was coined in 1777 by Antoine Lavoisier. use of zeolites with pressure-cycling to concentrate oxygen from air.1 Photosynthesis and respiration 2.3 Physical properties 1. such as proteins. By mass. Uses of oxygen include the production of steel. ozone (O3). plastics and textiles. and is a highly reactive nonmetallic element that readily forms compounds (notablyoxides) with almost all other elements.2 Phlogiston theory 4 .5 billion years ago. Contents [hide]  1 Characteristics o o o o o  1. in Uppsala. Oxygen is toxic to obligately anaerobic organisms. [5] Oxygen was independently discovered by Carl Wilhelm Scheele. but is a pollutant near the surface where it is a by-product of smog. submarines. roughly 2.2 Allotropes 1. which were the dominant form of early life on Earth until O2began to accumulate in the atmosphere. and bone. and Joseph Priestley in Wiltshire. and is used incellular respiration for all complex life.1 Early experiments 3.2 Build-up in the atmosphere  3 History o o 3. At even higher low earth orbit altitudes atomic oxygen is a significant presence and a cause of erosion for spacecraft. contain oxygen. helps protect the biosphere from ultraviolet radiation with the high-altitude ozone layer. rocket propellant.4 Isotopes and stellar origin 1. whose experiments with oxygen helped to discredit the thenpopular phlogiston theory of combustion and corrosion.Oxygen is a member of the chalcogen group on the periodic table. oxygen comprises most of the mass of living organisms (for example. Because it comprises most of the mass in water.5 Occurrence [6] 2 Biological role o o 2. [3] [4] Diatomic oxygen gas constitutes 20. [2] [1] and the most abundant element by mass in the Earth's Free oxygen is too chemically reactive to appear on Earth without the photosynthetic action of living organisms. spaceflight and diving. in 1773 or earlier. Another form (allotrope) of oxygen. making up almost half of the crust's mass. Elemental O2 only began to accumulate in the atmosphere after the evolutionary appearance of these organisms. electrolysis of water and other means. which use the energy of sunlight to produce elemental oxygen from water. and fats. about two-thirds of the human body's mass). Elemental oxygen is produced by cyanobacteria.

2 Combustion and other hazards      8 See also 9 Notes and citations 10 References 11 Further reading 12 External links Characteristics Structure Oxygen discharge (spectrum) tube At standard temperature and pressure. [9] The electron configuration [10] of the molecule has two unpaired electrons occupying two degenerate molecular orbitals. in which the two oxygen atoms are chemically bonded to each other with a spin triplet electron configuration.4 Lavoisier's contribution 3. These orbitals are classified as antibonding (weakening the bond order from three to two). [9] 5 .1 Oxides and other inorganic compounds 6.3 Industrial 5.5 Later history 4 Industrial production 5 Applications o o o o 5.4 Scientific  6 Compounds o o 6.1 Medical 5. odorless gas with the molecular formula O2. This bond has a bond order of two.3 Discovery 3. [8] [7] or as a combination of one two-electron bond Triplet oxygen (not to be confused with ozone.2 Life support and recreational use 5. oxygen is a colorless. and is often simplified in description as a double bond and two three-electron bonds.o o o   3.1 Toxicity 7.2 Organic compounds and biomolecules  7 Safety and precautions o o 7. O3) is the ground state of the O2 molecule. so the diatomic oxygen bond is weaker than the diatomic nitrogen triple bond in which all bonding molecular orbitals are filled. but some antibonding orbitals are not.

and the negative exchange energy between neighboring O2 molecules. such as animals. Trioxygen (O3) is usually known as ozone and is a very reactive allotrope of oxygen that is damaging to lung tissue. using the energy of sunlight. That is. [17] [16] [15] [14] It is also and by the immune system as Carotenoids in photosynthetic organisms (and possibly also in animals) play a major role in absorbing energy from singlet oxygen and converting it to the unexcited ground state before it can cause harm to tissues. O2 molecules are paramagnetic. produced in the troposphere by the photolysis of ozone by light of short wavelength. is a pollutant formed as a by-product of automobile exhaust. in laboratory demonstrations. singlet oxygen is commonly formed from water during photosynthesis. Since ozone absorbs strongly in the UV region of the spectrum. they form a magnet in the presence of a magnetic field—because of the spin magnetic moments of the unpaired electrons in the molecule. O2. It was proven in 2006 that This cluster has the potential this phase. [12][13] [11] Liquid oxygen is attracted to a magnet to a sufficient extent that. created by pressurizing O2 to 20 GPa. [20][21] [19] Near the Earth's surface.In normal triplet form. Singlet oxygen is a name given to several higher-energy species of molecular O2 in which all the electron spins are paired. discovered in 2001. It has a bond length of 121 pm and a bond energy of 498 kJ·mol . theozone layer of [6] the upper atmosphere functions as a protective radiation shield for the planet. in cellular respiration (see Biological role) and is the form that is a major part of the Earth's atmosphere (seeOccurrence). −1 [18] This is the form that is used by complex forms of life. a bridge of liquid oxygen may be supported against its own weight between the poles of a powerful magnet. Other aspects of O2 are covered in the remainder of this article. In nature. is in fact a rhombohedral O8 cluster. 6 . however. Allotropes Main article: Allotropes of oxygen Ozone is a rare gas on Earth found mostly in the stratosphere. a source of active oxygen. The common allotrope of elemental oxygen on Earth is called dioxygen. It is much more reactive towards common organic molecules than is molecular oxygen per se. [19] Ozone is produced in the upper atmospherewhen O2 combines with atomic oxygen made by the splitting [6] of O2 by ultraviolet (UV) radiation. it The metastable molecule tetraoxygen (O4) was [22] and was assumed to exist in one of the six phases ofsolid oxygen.

O.3 kPa) of air. It is a highly reactive substance and must be segregated from combustible materials. with 16 O being the most abundant O is synthesized at the end of the helium fusion process in massive stars but some is made in the neon [32] 17 burning process. phase was discovered in 1990 when solid oxygen is subjected to a pressure of above 96 GPa 1998 that at very low temperatures. Most 16 [31] O. 7 .04 milliliters (mL) of oxygen per liter. making it a [32] common isotope in the hydrogen burning zones of stars. making 4 18 Most 18 O is produced when 14 N (made abundant from [32] O common in the helium-rich zones of evolved. whereas seawatercontains about 4.31 °F). and 18 O.to be a much more powerful oxidizer than either O2 or O3 and may therefore be used in rocket fuel.6 mg·L ). using liquid nitrogen as a coolant. CNO burning) captures a He nucleus.95 mL per liter. Both liquid and solid O2 are clear substances with a light sky-blue color caused by absorption in the [29] red (in contrast with the blue color of the sky.0 mL (50% more than at 25 °C) per liter for water and 7. [30] Liquid oxygen may also be produced by condensation out of air.95 °C. Isotopes and stellar origin Main article: Isotopes of oxygen 18 O in the He-shell.82 °F).20 K (−182. At 5 °C the solubility increases to 9. freshwater contains about 6. −361. High-purity liquid O2 is usually obtained by the fractional distillation of liquefied air. O is primarily made by the burning of hydrogen into helium during the CNO cycle. 16 17 Naturally occurring oxygen is composed of three stable isotopes. −297.2 mL (45% more) per liter for sea water. [27] −1 −1 [25][26] At 25 °C and 1 standard atmosphere (101. The solubility of oxygen in water is temperaturedependent. water contains approximately 1 molecule of O2 for every 2 molecules of N2. (99. massive stars. and freezes at 54. which is due to Rayleigh scattering of blue light). and about twice as much (14. Oxygen condenses [28] at 90.36 K (−218.762% natural abundance).6 mg·L ) dissolves at 0 °C than at 20 °C (7. compared to an atmospheric ratio of approximately 1:4. Physical properties See also: Liquid oxygen and solid oxygen [24] [23] [20][21] A metallic and it was shown in Oxygen is more soluble in water than nitrogen is.79 °C. this phase becomes superconducting.

Occurrence See also: Silicate minerals and Category:Oxide minerals Oxygen is the most abundant chemical element. [38] Polluted water may have reduced amounts of O2 in it. Cold water holds more dissolved O2.1% of its mass (some 10 Earth is unusual among the planets of the Solar System in having such a high concentration of oxygen gas in its atmosphere: Mars (with 0. 16 + 14 [31] 15 O with a half-life of 122. the most stable being and O with a half-life of 70. as polar oceans support a much higher density of life due to their higher oxygen content. after hydrogen and helium.24 seconds (s) All of the remaining radioactive isotopes have half-lives that are less than 27 s [31] and the majority of these have half-lives that are less than 83 milliseconds. In the present equilibrium. depleted by decaying [39] algae and other biomaterials (see eutrophication). About 0. the O2 surrounding these other planets is produced solely by ultraviolet radiation impacting oxygen-containing molecules such as carbon dioxide. while respiration and decayremove it from the atmosphere.8% by mass). by mass. Oxygen is the third most abundant chemical element in the universe. and the most common mode for the isotopes heavier than O is beta decay to yield fluorine. However. Photosynthesis releases oxygen into the atmosphere. Scientists assess this aspect of water quality by measuring the water's biochemical oxygen demand. and the lithosphere. the biosphere. or the amount of O2 needed to restore it to a normal concentration. 8 . This biogeochemical cycle describes the movement of oxygen within and between its three main reservoirs on Earth: the atmosphere. in our biosphere. which is responsible for modern Earth's atmosphere.0% tonnes). Free oxygen also occurs in solution in the world's water bodies. The increased solubility of O2 at lower temperatures (see Physical properties) has important implications for ocean life. production and consumption occur at the same rate of roughly 1/2000th of the entire atmospheric oxygen per year. taking up 21.9% of the Sun's mass is oxygen. Oxygen gas is the second most common component of the Earth's atmosphere. [4][36][37] of its volume and 23. isotopes lighter than 18 The most common decay mode of the O is β decay [33][34][35] [31] to yield nitrogen.606 s.2% of the Earth's crust by mass [4] 15 and is the major component of the world's oceans (88.1% O2 by volume) and Venus have far lower concentrations. The unusually high concentration of oxygen gas on Earth is the result of the oxygen cycle. sea and land. [4] [1] [2] Oxygen constitutes 49. The main driving factor of the oxygen cycle isphotosynthesis.Fourteen radioisotopes have been characterized. air.

In nature. changing its −1 membranes color from in the red to lungs bright and red. Green algae and cyanobacteria in marine environments provide about 70% of the free oxygen produced on earth and the rest is produced by terrestrial plants. O2. O2 is diffused through cells. the water molecule is released into the atmosphere. The reaction for aerobic respiration is essentially the reverse of photosynthesis and is simplified as: C6H12O6 + 6 O2 → 6 CO2 + 6 H2O + 2880 kJ·mol In vertebrates. [40] A simplified overall formula for photosynthesis is: [41] 6 CO2 + 6 H2O + photons → C6H12O6 + 6 O2 (or simply carbon dioxide + water + sunlight → glucose + dioxygen) Photolytic oxygen evolution occurs in the thylakoid membranes of photosynthetic organisms and requires the energy of four photons. into red [19][45] blood animals bluish Other 9 . Oxygen is used in mitochondria to help generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) during oxidative phosphorylation. but the result is the formation of a proton gradient across the [43] thylakoid membrane. [42] Many steps are involved. free oxygen is produced by the light-driven splitting of water during oxygenic photosynthesis. Hemoglobin binds O2. is essential for cellular respiration in all aerobic organisms. which is used to synthesize ATP via photophosphorylation. [44] The O2 remaining after oxidation of Molecular dioxygen.Biological role Main article: Dioxygen in biological reactions Photosynthesis and respiration Photosynthesis splits water to liberate O2and fixes CO2 into sugar.

superoxide. including the burning of 7 billion tonnes of fossil fuelseach year have had very little effect At the current rate of photosynthesis it would take about [52] on the amount of free oxygen in the atmosphere. this time. 200 cm ofO2. 3) O2starts to gas out of the oceans. Parts of theimmune system of higher organisms. However. 10 . which may have contributed to the large size of insects and amphibians at [11] Human activities.7 billion years ago. Reactive 3 [36] [36] A liter of blood can dissolve oxygen species. but is absorbed by land surfaces and formation of ozone layer. such as superoxide ion [36] (O− 2) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).use hemocyanin (molluscs and some arthropods) or hemerythrin (spiders and lobsters). are dangerous by-products of oxygen use in organisms. [51] [50] Towards the end of the Carboniferous period (about 300 million years ago) atmospheric O2 levels [50] reached a maximum of 35% by volume. the oxygen combined with dissolvediron in the oceans to form banded iron formations. and singlet oxygen to destroy invading microbes.7 billion years ago. however. [48] The presence of large amounts of dissolved and free oxygen in the oceans and atmosphere may have driven most of the anaerobic organismsthen living to extinction during the Great Oxygenation Event(oxygen catastrophe) about 2.6 billion years ago). helping the former to dominate Earth's biosphere.4 grams of oxygen per minute.000 years to regenerate the entire O2 in the present atmosphere. [49] Photosynthesis and cellular respiration of O2 allowed for the evolution of eukaryotic cells and ultimately complex multicellular organisms such as plants and animals. but absorbed in oceans & seabed rock. Since the beginning of the Cambrian period 540 million years ago. 2.4 billion years ago. O2 levels have fluctuated between 15% and 30% by volume. [43] An adult human in rest inhales 1. Reactive oxygen species also play an important role in the hypersensitive response of plants against pathogen attack.8 to 2. the Paleoproterozoic eon (between 2. oxygen inhaled by humanity per year. 4–5) O2 sinks filled and the gas accumulates Free oxygen gas was Free almost oxygen nonexistent first appeared in Earth's in significant atmosphere before quantities during photosynthetic archaea and bacteria evolved. create peroxide. cellular respiration usingO2 enables aerobic organisms to produce much more ATP than anaerobic organisms. [47] [46] This amounts to more than 6 billion tonnes of Build-up in the atmosphere Main articles: Geological history of oxygen and Biological role of oxygen O2 build-up in Earth's atmosphere: 1) no O2 produced. 2)O2 produced.5 and 1. Free oxygen started to gas out of the oceans 2. At first. reaching 10% of its present level around 1.

Philo observed that inverting a vessel over a burning candle and surrounding the vessel's neck with water resulted in some water rising into the neck. English chemist John Mayow refined this work by showing that fire requires only a part of air that he called spiritus nitroaereus or just nitroaereus. In his work Pneumatica. 11 . [55] [55] He also thought that the lungs separate nitroaereus from air and pass it into the blood and that animal heat and muscle movement result from the reaction of nitroaereus with certain substances in the body. [56] [55] In one experiment he found that placing either a mouse or a lit candle in a closed container over water caused the water to rise and replace one-fourteenth of the air's volume before extinguishing the subjects. One of the first known experiments on the relationship between combustion and air was conducted by the 2nd century BCE Greek writer on mechanics.History Early experiments Philo's experiment inspired laterinvestigators. In the late 17th century. and inferred that the nitroaereus must have combined with it. Philo of Byzantium. From this he surmised that nitroaereus is consumed in both respiration and combustion. Many centuries later Leonardo da Vinci built on Philo's work by observing that a portion of air is consumed during combustion and respiration. Accounts of these and other experiments and ideas were published in 1668 in his work Tractatus duo in the [56] tract "De respiratione". Mayow observed that antimony increased in weight when heated. [53] Philo incorrectly surmised that parts of the air in the vessel were converted into the classical element fire and [54] thus were able to escape through pores in the glass. Robert Boyle proved that air is necessary for combustion.

J. Mikhail Lomonosov. it was based on observations of what happens when something burns. gain weight in rusting (when they were supposedly losing phlogiston). contained very little. and Pierre Bayen all produced oxygen in experiments in the 17th and the 18th century but none of them recognized it as an element. Indeed one of the first clues that the phlogiston theory was incorrect was that metals. that most common objects appear to become lighter and seem to lose something in the process. too. and modified by the chemist Georg Ernst Stahl by 1731.Phlogiston theory Main article: Phlogiston theory Stahl helped develop and popularize the phlogiston theory. Highly combustible materials that leave little residue. were thought to be made mostly of phlogiston. such as wood or coal. Robert Hooke. [54] The fact that a substance like wood actually gains overall weight in burning was hidden by the buoyancy of the gaseous combustion products. nor were any initial quantitative experiments conducted to test the idea. Established in 1667 by the German alchemist J. which was then the favored explanation of those processes. whereas non-combustible substances that corrode. 12 . called phlogiston. [57] phlogiston theory stated that all combustible materials were made of two parts. while the dephlogisticated part was thought to be its true form. instead. Ole Borch. [25] This may have been in part due to the prevalence of the philosophy of combustion andcorrosion called the phlogiston theory. Air did not play a role in phlogiston theory. such as iron. Becher. One part. or calx. [54] was given off when the substance containing it was burned.

The noted French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier later claimed to have discovered the new substance independently. Joseph Priestley is usually given priority in the discovery." [54][59] [25] Priestley published his findings in 1775 in a paper titled "An Account of Further Discoveries in Air" which was included in the second volume of his book titled Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air. which liberated a gas he named "dephlogisticated air". 1774. However.Carl Wilhelm Scheele beat Priestley to the discovery but published afterwards. that document was not published until 1777. but Lavoisier never acknowledged receiving it (a copy of the letter was found in Scheele's belongings after his death). he wrote: "The feeling of it to my lungs was not sensibly different from that of common air. Discovery Oxygen was first discovered by Swedish pharmacist Carl Wilhelm Scheele. and wrote an account of this discovery in a manuscript he titled Treatise on Air and Fire. all started in 1774. an experiment conducted by the British clergyman Joseph Priestley focused sunlight onmercuric oxide (HgO) inside a glass tube. Because he published his findings first. Priestley visited Lavoisier in October 1774 and told him about his experiment and how he liberated the new gas. but I fancied that my breast felt peculiarly light and easy for some time afterwards. After breathing the gas himself. which he sent to his publisher in 1775. to discredit the phlogiston theory and to prove that the substance discovered by Priestley and Scheele was a chemical element. [4][54] Scheele called the gas "fire air" because it was the [58] only known supporter of combustion. 13 . on August 1. However. In the meantime. [4] [58] He used these and similar experiments. [4] He noted that candles burned brighter in the gas and that a mouse was more active and lived longer while breathing it. 1774 that described his own discovery of the previously unknown substance. Priestley is usually given priority in the discovery. Scheele also posted a letter to Lavoisier on September 30. He had produced oxygen gas by heating mercuric oxide and various nitrates by about 1772. Lavoisier's contribution What Lavoisier did indisputably do (although this was disputed at the time) was to conduct the first adequate quantitative experiments on oxidation and give the first correct explanation of how combustion works.

because he mistakenly believed that oxygen was a constituent of all acids. This is partly due to a poem praising the gas titled "Oxygen" in the popular book The Botanic Garden (1791) by Erasmus Darwin.Antoine Lavoisier discredited the Phlogiston theory. 'vital air'. [4] He noted that air rushed in when he opened the container. the name had taken. [6] Chemists (notably Sir Humphrey Davy) eventually determined that Lavoisier was wrong in this regard (it is in fact hydrogen that forms the basis for acid chemistry). In one experiment. Azote later became nitrogen in English. Later history [58] 14 . [4] In that work. Oxygen entered the English language despite opposition by English scientists and the fact that the Englishman Priestley had first isolated the gas and written about it. which is essential to combustion and respiration. which was published in 1777. Lavoisier observed that there was no overall increase in weight when tin and air were heated in a closed container. although it has kept the name in French and several other European languages. but by that time it was too late. This and other experiments on combustion were documented in his book Sur la combustion en général. which did not support either. which indicated that part of the trapped air had been consumed. literally begetter)." from the taste of acids) and -γενής (-genēs) (producer. he proved that air is a mixture of two gases. [4] Lavoisier renamed 'vital air' to oxygène in 1777 from the Greek roots ὀξύς (oxys) (acid. and azote (Gk. He also noted that the tin had increased in weight and that increase was the same as the weight of the air that rushed back in. literally "sharp. grandfather of Charles Darwin.ἄζωτον "lifeless").

in 1901. Swiss chemist and physicist Raoul Pierre Pictet evaporated liquid sulfur dioxide in order to liquefy carbon dioxide. USA. which in turn was evaporated to cool oxygen gas enough to liquefy it. In 1923 the American scientist Robert H. based on what is now called Avogadro's law and the assumption of diatomic elemental molecules. Oxygen evolution. For example. Goddard and a liquid oxygen-gasoline rocket John Dalton's original atomic hypothesis assumed that all elements were monoatomic and that the atoms in compounds would normally have the simplest atomic ratios with respect to one another. Goddard successfully flew a small liquid-fueled rocket 56 m at 97 km/h on March 16. Massachusetts. 15 . 1926 in Auburn. 1883 by Polish scientists from Jagiellonian University. [65][66] Industrial production See also: Air separation. giving the atomic mass of oxygen as 8 times that of hydrogen. 1877 to the French Academy of Sciences in Paris announcing his discovery of liquid oxygen.Robert H. Oxygen was liquified in stable state for the first time on March 29. Zygmunt Wróblewski and Karol Olszewski. and by 1811 Amedeo Avogadro had arrived at the correct interpretation of water's composition. Both men lowered the temperature of air until it liquefied and then distilled the component gases by boiling them off one at a time and capturing them. Only a few drops of the liquid were produced in either case so no [64] meaningful analysis could be conducted. the engine used gasoline for fuel and liquid oxygen as the oxidizer. [60] In 1805. [11] The first commercially viable process for producing liquid oxygen was independently developed in 1895 by German engineer Carl von Linde and British engineer William Hampson. [63] Just two days later. by compressing and cooling it. Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and Alexander von Humboldt showed that water is formed of two volumes of hydrogen and one volume of oxygen. Dalton assumed that water's formula was HO. [58] The most common method is to fractionally distill liquefied air into its various components. Goddard became the first person to develop a rocket engine. and its components isolated. and fractional distillation Two major methods are employed to produce 100 million tonnes of O2 extracted from air for industrial uses annually. This method of welding and cutting metal later became common. oxyacetylene weldingwas demonstrated for the first time by burning a mixture of acetylene and compressed O2. In 1891 Scottish chemist James Dewar was able to produce enough liquid oxygen to study. instead of the modern value of about 16. with [58] nitrogen N2 distilling as a vapor while oxygen O2 is left as a liquid. [61][62] By the late 19th century scientists realized that air could be liquefied. Using a cascade method. He sent a telegram on December 22. French physicist Louis Paul Cailletet announced his [63] own method of liquefying molecular oxygen. [65] [65] Later.

[67] Oxygen gas can also be produced through electrolysis of water into molecular oxygen and hydrogen. Contrary to popular belief. [58] Simultaneously. oxygen is often transported in bulk as a liquid in specially insulated tankers.Hoffman electrolysis apparatus used in electrolysis of water. the price of liquid oxygen in 2001 was approximately $0. In large quantities. nitrogen gas is released from the other nitrogen-saturated zeolite bed. [68] [39] Since the primary cost of production is the energy cost of liquefying the air. which stand outside hospitals and other institutions with a need for large volumes of pure oxygen gas. which convert the cryogenic 16 . which absorbs the nitrogen and delivers a gas stream that is 90% to 93% O2. the gases in each limb consist of hydrogen and oxygen in the explosive ratio 2:1. to produce nearly pure O2 gas. and are still part of standard equipment on commercial airliners in case of depressurization emergencies. DC electricity must be used: if AC is used. by reducing the chamber operating pressure and diverting part of the oxygen gas from the producer bed through it. A similar method is the electrocatalytic O2 evolution from oxides and oxoacids. For reasons of economy. the 2:1 ratio observed in the DC electrolysis of acidified water does not prove that the empirical formula of water is H2O unless certain assumptions are made about the molecular formulae of hydrogen and oxygen themselves. thereby allowing for a continuous supply of gaseous oxygen to be pumped through a pipeline. This is known as pressure swing adsorption. [58] Such tankers are used to refill bulk liquid oxygen storage containers. Oxygen gas is increasingly obtained by these non-cryogenic technologies (see also the related vacuum swing adsorption). Liquid oxygen is passed through heat exchangers. After a set cycle time the operation of the two beds is interchanged. dry air through one bed of a pair of identical zeolite molecular sieves. the production cost will change as energy cost varies. Another air separation technology involves forcing air to dissolve through ceramic membranes based on zirconium dioxide by either high pressure or an electric current. in the reverse direction of flow. since one litre of liquefied oxygen is equivalent to 840 liters of gaseous oxygen at atmospheric pressure and 20 °C.21/kg. Chemical catalysts can be used as well. such as in chemical oxygen generators or oxygen candles that are used as part of the life-support equipment on submarines. The other major method of producing O2 gas involves passing a stream of clean.

the anaerobic them. so increasing its partial Decompression sickness occurs in divers who decompress too quickly after a dive. Oxygen is also stored and shipped in smaller cylinders containing the compressed gas. when needed. easing work load on the heart. Oxygen is also used medically for patients who require mechanical ventilation. 17 . [75][76] Oxygen gas is poisonous to pressure helps kill bacteria that cause gas gangrene. the patient's home. often at concentrations above the 21% found in ambient air. Treatment not only increases oxygen levels in the patient's blood. Redox. Oxygen therapy is used to treat emphysema. mostly nitrogen and helium. Applications See also: Breathing gas. Increasing the pressure of O2 as soon as possible is part of the treatment.liquid into gas before it enters the building. a form that is useful in certain portable medical applications and oxy-fuel welding and cutting. some heart disorders (congestive heart failure). Oxygen tents were once commonly used in oxygen supplementation. in the lungs helps to displace carbon monoxide from the heme group of hemoglobin. the medical staff. and anydisease that impairs the body's ability to take up and use gaseous oxygen. or increasingly by portable devices. but has the secondary effect of decreasing resistance to blood flow in many types of diseased lungs. Hyperbaric (high-pressure) [70] medicine uses special oxygen [71] chambers to [72] increase the partial pressure of O2 around the patient and. and Combustion Medical [58] An oxygen concentrator in anemphysema patient's house Main article: Oxygen therapy Uptake of O2 from the air is the essential purpose of respiration. forming in their blood. so oxygen supplementation is used in medicine. Increased O2 concentration [73][74] and decompression sickness (the 'bends') are sometimes treated using these devices. pneumonia. some disorders that cause increased pulmonary artery pressure. [69] Treatments are flexible enough to be used in hospitals. but have since been replaced mostly by the use of oxygen masks or nasal cannulas. resulting in bubbles of [69][77][78] inert gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning. gas gangrene.

also sometimes go [84] off field between plays to wear oxygen masks in order to get a "boost" in performance. and/or mixtures of oxygen and air. such as George Goble's five-second ignition of barbecue grills. resulting in a normal blood partial pressure of O2. Sudden cabin pressure loss activates chemical oxygen generators above each seat. of oxygen gas is then produced by the exothermic reaction. a placebo effect is a more likely explanation. is needed to maintain flexible spacesuits. forces iron filings into the sodium chlorate inside the canister. California. as a supposed mild euphoric. especially in American football. A notable application of O2 as a low-pressure breathing gas is in modern space suits. Passengers traveling in (pressurized) commercial airplanes have an emergency supply of O2 automatically supplied to them in case of cabin depressurization. Nevada since the late 1990s that offer higher than normal O2 exposure for a fee. decompression. People who climb mountains [83] or fly in non-pressurized fixed-wing aircraft sometimes have supplemental O2 supplies. Oxygen bars are establishments. causing oxygen masks to drop. which surround their occupant's body with pressurized air. but most often use normal pressure. such as nitrogen or helium. has a history of recreational use in oxygen bars and in sports.jpg Low pressure pure O2 is used inspace suits. [81][82] [79][80] This trade-off of higher oxygen concentration for lower pressure Deeper diving requires significant dilution of O2 with other gases.Life support and recreational use File:Wisoff on the Arm — GPN-2000-001069. These devices use nearly pure oxygen at about one third normal pressure. or emergency treatment use at relatively shallow depths (~6 meters depth. or less). [86] 18 . found in Japan. Scuba divers and submariners also rely on artificially delivered O2. and Las Vegas. Other recreational uses that do not involve breathing the gas include pyrotechnic applications. Available studies support a performance boost from [85] enriched O2 mixtures only if they are breathed during actual aerobic exercise. to help [81] prevent oxygen toxicity. Pure or nearly pure O2use in diving at higher-than-sea-level pressures is usually limited to rebreather. The pharmacological effect is doubtful. Pulling on the masks "to start the flow of oxygen" as cabin safety instructions dictate. [84] [39] A steady stream Professional athletes. Oxygen.

is converted into ethylene glycol. Scientific [87] Larger rockets use liquid oxygen as 500 million years of climate change vs 18 O Paleoclimatologists measure the ratio of oxygen-18 and oxygen-16 in the shells and skeletons of marine organisms to determine what the climate was like millions of years ago (see oxygen isotope ratio cycle). Smelting of iron ore into steel consumes 55% of commercially produced oxygen.700 °C. [39] Ethylene is reacted with O2 to create ethylene oxide. In this process. this disparity increases at lower temperatures.Industrial Most commercially produced O2 is used to smelt iron into steel. including antifreeze and polyester polymers (the precursors of many plastics and fabrics). evaporate at a slightly faster rate than water molecules containing the 12% heavier oxygen-18. and the 19 . metal cutting and welding. which is mixed and ignited with the fuel for propulsion. metal up to 60 cm thick is first heated with a small oxy-acetylene flame and then quickly cut by a large stream of O2. oxygen-16. SO2 and CO2. [39] Oxygen is used in oxyacetylene welding burning acetylene with O2 to produce a very hot flame. [88] During periods of lower global temperatures. O2 is [39] injected through a high-pressure lance into molten iron. so the temperature increases to 1. snow and rain from that evaporated water tends to be higher in oxygen-16. in turn. which removes sulfur impurities and excess carbon as the respective oxides. Most of the remaining 20% of commercially produced oxygen is used in medical applications. as an oxidizer in rocket fuel. Seawater molecules that contain the lighter isotope. [39] In this process. the primary feeder material used to manufacture a host of [39] products. Another 25% of commercially produced oxygen is used by the chemical industry. The reactions are exothermic. and inwater treatment. their oxidizer. which.

and meteorites. [88] Paleoclimatologists also directly measure this ratio in the water molecules of ice core samples that are up to several hundreds of thousands of years old. However.seawater left behind tends to be higher in oxygen-18. Compounds Main article: Compounds of oxygen Water (H2O) is the most familiar oxygen compound. +1 (dioxygen difluoride). +1/2 (dioxygenyl). Oxides and other inorganic compounds 20 . and +2 (oxygen difluoride). Marine organisms then incorporate more oxygen-18 into their skeletons and shells than they would in a warmer climate. The oxidation state −1 is found in a few compounds such as peroxides. [90] This approach exploits the fact that in those bands it is possible to discriminate the vegetation's reflectance from its fluorescence. the Moon. Planetary geologists have measured different abundances of oxygen isotopes in samples from the Earth. The measurement is technically difficult owing to the low signal-to-noise ratio and the physical structure of vegetation. −1/3 (ozonides). but were long unable to obtain reference values for the isotope ratios in the Sun. The oxidation state of oxygen is −2 in almost all known compounds of oxygen. 0 (elemental. [89] Oxygen presents two spectrophotometric absorption bands peaking at the wavelengths 687 and 760 nm. Mars. The measurement implies that an unknown process depleted oxygen-16 from the Sun's disk of protoplanetary material prior to the coalescence of dust grains that formed the Earth. analysis of a silicon wafer exposed to the solar wind in space and returned by the crashed Genesis spacecraft has shown that the Sun has a higher proportion of oxygen-16 than does the Earth. believed to be the same as those of the primordial solar nebula. hypofluorous acid). but it has been proposed as a possible method of monitoring the carbon cycle from satellites on a global scale. which is much weaker. [91] Compounds containing oxygen in other oxidation states are very uncommon: −1/2 (superoxides). Some remote sensing scientists have proposed using the measurement of the radiance coming from vegetation canopies in those bands to characterize plant health status from asatellite platform.

Na2SiO3. the natural occurring FeO (wüstite) is actually written as Fe1 − xO. some elements readily form oxides at standard conditions for temperature and pressure. Oxygen also acts as a ligand for transition metals. oxide Fe2O3. Hydrogen atoms are covalently bonded to oxygen in a water molecule but also have an additional attraction (about 23. the rusting of iron is an example. [97] with the platinum in PtF6. crust is also [96] made of oxygen compounds. and Na2Si2O5 are used as detergents and adhesives. forming metal–O2 bonds with the iridium atom in Vaska's complex. For example. The surface of metals like aluminium and titanium are oxidized in the presence of air and become coated with a thin film of oxide that passivates the metal and slows further corrosion.Water (H2O) is the oxide of hydrogen and the most familiar oxygen compound. oxygen forms chemical bonds with almost all other elements at elevated temperatures to give corresponding oxides. aluminium (aluminium in hematite and rust) and other metals. 21 . Some of the transition metal oxides are found in nature as non-stoichiometric compounds. such as iron oxide or rust form when oxygen combines with other elements. The rest of the Earth's in bauxite andcorundum). in large part of oxides of silicon (silica SiO2. with a slightly less metal than the chemical formula would show. [93][94] [92] −1 per These hydrogen bonds between water molecules hold them approximately 15% closer than what would be expected in a simple liquid with just van der Waals forces. The earth's crustal rock is composed oxide Al2O3. Water-solublesilicates of Na4SiO4. [95] Oxygen as a compound is present in the atmosphere in trace quantities in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2). However. where x is usually around 0.3 kJ·mol hydrogen atom) to an adjacent oxygen atom in a separate molecule.05. Due to its electronegativity. [98] and with the iron center of the heme group of hemoglobin. iron (iron(III) found in granite and sand). in the form in particular calcium carbonate (in limestone) and silicates (in feldspars). Oxides.

furan. Organic [96] compounds important in industry and commerce that are made by direct oxidation of a precursor include ethylene oxide and peracetic acid. formaldehyde. amino acids. esters (R-COO-R). Epoxides are ethers in which the oxygen atom is part of a ring of three atoms. such as squalene and the carotenes. including: acetone. citric acid. Oxygen also occurs in phosphate (PO3− 4) groups in the biologically important energy-carrying molecules ATP and ADP. diethyl ether. ethanol. glutaraldehyde. Allfats. aldehydes (R-CO-H). Oxygen Carbon Hydrogen Oxygen represents more than 40% of themolecular mass of the ATP molecule. Only a few common complex biomolecules. [99] Most of the organic compounds that contain oxygen are not made by direct action of O2. carboxylic acids (R- COOH). The element is found in almost all biomolecules that are important to (or generated by) life. acetic anhydride. dioxane. Oxygen reacts spontaneously with many organic compounds at or below room temperature in a process calledautoxidation. acetic acid. in the backbone and 22 . carbohydrates contain the largest proportion by mass of oxygen. acid anhydrides (R-CO-O-CO-R). ethyl acetate.Organic compounds and biomolecules Acetone is an important feeder material in the chemical industry. THF. Among the most important classes of organic compounds that contain oxygen are (where "R" is an organic group):alcohols (R-OH). ethers (R-O-R). Other important organic compounds that contain oxygen are: glycerol. isopropanol. and amides (R-C(O)-NR2). and acetamide. ketones (R-CO-R). DMF. fatty acids. methanol. contain no oxygen. Of the organic compounds with biological relevance. and proteins contain oxygen (due to the presence of carbonyl groups in these acids and their ester residues). DMSO. There are many important organic solventsthat contain oxygen. Acetone ((CH3)2CO) and phenol (C6H5OH) are used as feeder materials in the synthesis of many different substances. and formic acid.

and in bones as calcium Main article: Oxygen toxicity Main symptoms of oxygen toxicity [100] Oxygen toxicity occurs when the lungs take in a higher than normal O2 partial pressure. gas (O2) can be toxic at elevated partial pressures.the purines (except adenine) phosphate and hydroxylapatite. [25] (although this figure also is subject to wide variation. Oxygen problems. since gas supplied through oxygen masks in medical applications is typically composed of only 30%–50% O2 by volume (about 30 kPa at standard pressure). This is not a problem except for patients onmechanical ventilators. or 2. depending on type of mask). which can occur in deep scuba diving. Safety and precautions Toxicity and pyrimidines of RNA and DNA.5 times the normal sea-level O2 partial pressure of about 21 kPa (equal to about 50% oxygen composition at standard pressure). 23 . leading to convulsions and other health [81][101][102] Oxygen toxicity usually begins to occur at partial pressures more than 50 kilopascals (kPa).

such as peroxides. or in early spacecraft such as Apollo. on contact with the human body it can cause frostbites to the skin and the eyes. however. Combustion hazards also apply to compounds of oxygen with a high oxidative potential. Highly concentrated sources of oxygen promote rapid combustion. causes no damage due to the low total pressures used. [79][104] In the case of spacesuits. such as in some modern space suits. Liquid oxygen spills. but this practice was discontinued after some babies were blinded by it. but the oxidant. [25][103] Breathing pure O2 in space applications. Acute oxygen toxicity (causing seizures. [109] As with other cryogenic liquids. 24 . is needed to trigger combustion. instead of the ⁄3 normal pressure that would be used in a mission. Oxygen toxicity to the lungs and central nervous system can also occur in deep scuba diving and surface supplied diving. and therefore the design and manufacture of O2 systems requires special training to ensure that ignition sources are minimized. [109] Oxygen itself is not the fuel. Fire and explosion hazards exist when concentrated oxidants and fuels are brought into close proximity. [25][81] Prolonged breathing of an air mixture with an O2 partial pressure more than 60 kPa can [105] eventually lead to permanent pulmonary fibrosis. its most feared effect for divers) can occur by breathing an air mixture with 21% O2 at 66 m or more of depth. about 30 kPa (1. the same thing can occur by breathing 100% O2 at only 6 m.4 times normal).At one time. if allowed to soak into organic matter. in general. and dichromatesbecause they can donate oxygen to a fire. petrochemicals. an ignition event. perchlorates. such as wood. and asphalt can cause these materials to detonate unpredictably on subsequent mechanical impact. premature babies were placed in incubators containing O2-rich air. Concentrated O2 will allow combustion to proceed rapidly and energetically. and the resulting O2 partial pressure in the astronaut's arterial blood is only marginally more than normal sea-level O2 partial pressure (see arterial blood gas). [105][106][107][108] Combustion and other hazards Pure O2 at higher than normal pressure and a spark led to a fire and the loss of theApollo 1 crew. such as heat or a spark. nitrates. 1 The fire that [110][111] killed the Apollo 1 crew in a launch pad test spread so rapidly because the capsule was pressurized with pure O2 but at slightly more than atmospheric pressure. the O2 partial pressure in the breathing gas is.6 atm) may lead to convulsions (normally fatal for divers). [109] Steel pipes and storage [109] vessels used to store and transmit both gaseous and liquid oxygen will act as a fuel. Exposure to a O2 partial pressures greater than 160 kPa (about 1. chlorates.

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297–304. LCCN 68-29938. The Encyclopedia of the Chemical Elements. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc. Heidelberg. (listen now) 31 . "Oxygen". pp. the free dictionary. Susan E.        Media related to Oxygen at Wikimedia Commons The Periodic Table of Videos video of Oxygen at YouTube Oxidizing Agents > Oxygen Oxygen (O2) Properties. Carol M. and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. In Hutzinger O. Handbook of Environmental Chemistry. Uses.  Emsley. Freeman and Company Publishers. 499–512. J. Applications Roald Hoffmann article on "The Story of O" WebElements. Berlin. External links Listen to this article (info/dl) This audio file was created from a revision of Oxygen dated 2008-06-23. pp... Part A: The natural environment and the biogeochemical cycles. pp. UK: Oxford University Press. (Audio help) More spoken articles Look up oxygen in Wiktionary. Oxford. ^ Chiles. Biology of Plants. Ray F. Hampel.  Raven. John (2001). New York: Reinhold Book Corporation.H. References  Cook. ISBN 0-7167-1007-2. (2001). (1968). Eichhorn (2005). Evert.com – Oxygen Chemistry in World: Oxygen its element podcast (MP3) from the Royal Society of Chemistry's Chemistry  Oxygen on In Our Time at the BBC. Volume 1. Gerhard A.. James R. 115–27.. Lauer. (1980). ISBN 0-387-09688-4. "The oxygen cycle". England. Peter H. pp. ISBN 0-19-850340-7.ISBN 0-06662082-1. 258. New York: W. Further reading  Walker. Inviting Disaster: Lessons from the edge of Technology: An inside look at catastrophes and why they happen. 7th Edition. New York: Springer-Verlag.111. "Oxygen". Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements. In Clifford A.