What is Oxygen

Oxygen is a versatile element playing various roles in our life and in the existence of our planet. Let’s have a look on some of the important properties of the oxygen.                                        

Oxygen amounts to an element having an atomic number 8. Its scientific symbol is represented by the “O”. It belongs to the chalcogen group. It is known for its high reactive properties and is a reactive non metal which has the ability to react readily and combines with one or the more elements to form compounds. Besides this, it is a strong oxidizing agent. After fluorine, it is the second most electronegative atom. Earth has its abundant sources and is the third most abundant element in the universe quickly following helium and hydrogen.

 Oxygen is found as the main constituent in almost all the living organisms consisting of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It is also a major constituent in various inorganic compounds like bone, animal shells and teeth. Talking about its discovery, the credit of discovering oxygen goes to Joseph Pristley. He discovered it in 1774.

Talking about its physical appearance, it is pale blue in color and an odorless gas. This is the reason that we don’t feel its presence in air! It exists in diatomic structure in which two atoms are bonded together chemically. Oxygen also exists in its allotropic form. The most common form of allotrope of oxygen that we all know is O2 and also called as dioxygen. Ozone exists in triatomic form and is called as O3 and forms the protective sheath of our planet. It is very reactive form of oxygen and harmful for human and can lead to serious lungs disease as it damages the lung tissue.

The reason behind the formation of oxygen in the nature is its production from the light driven splitting of water in the process of oxygenic photosynthesis. It is essential for our various life processes and the existence of our planet. In industries, oxygen is made to produce by various processes. The most common process by which oxygen is being produced in industries is with the help of fractional distillation of air. It is a process in which air is liquefies and oxygen is separated from it as a result of fractional distillation. Since, every gas has its own vapor point, N2 gets evaporated as a vapor and oxygen is left behind as a liquid.

Oxygen finds wide applications in our day to day life and is responsible for various processes that would otherwise be impossible.