Simple Science

Uses Of Oxygen

OxygenPhoto by e-magic

Oxygen has no smell or color and is a tasteless gas. The gas comprises 23% of the air. Oxygen is a part of the air which all living beings use to breathe. It can be found in the Sun, the atmosphere, oceans and human bodies. Without this element, people will not be able to survive.

Additionally, oxygen is also part of the stellar life cycle. The gas is of great importance in the iron and steel as well as chemical industries. However, its major use is in the production of steel.

Another important industrial application is the oxyacetylene torch. Oxygen is mixed with other gases for respiration in submarines, spacecraft, and high-flying aircraft, and is utilized in medicine in the treatment of respiratory diseases. In addition, liquid oxygen is used in the fuel systems of large rockets as an oxidizer. Oxygen has a number of great uses and in this article we will mention all the important ones.

Common uses

Oxygen is used in a number of industrial chemical applications. It’s used to make nitric acid, sulfuric acid, acids as well as other compounds. The most reactive variant of this gas is ozone O3, which is applied in assorted chemical reactions. The goal is to boost oxidation of unwanted compounds and reaction rate. In order to make iron and steel in blast furnaces, hot oxygen air is required. It is used by some mining companies to destroy rocks.

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The industrial usage

Industries use the gas for melting, welding and cutting metals. The gas is capable of generating high temperatures (about 3000 C), which is required for oxy-acetylene and oxy-hydrogen blow torches. A normal welding process is simple – metal parts are brought together. In order to melt them, a high temperature flame is used by heating the junction. As a result, the ends are melted and solidify. In order to slice metal, one end must be heated until it turns red. The level of oxygen is increased until the hot component has oxidized. The process softens the metal so it can be easily hammered apart.

Atmospheric oxygen

The gas is required to produce energy in industrial generators, processes and ships. Additionally, it’s also used in cars and airplanes. It burns spacecraft fuel as liquid oxygen. Spacesuits of astronauts have close to pure oxygen.

Use in medicine

Oxygen supplies are kept in stock in healthcare institutions, such as hospitals. When needed, these are provided to patients who have difficulty breathing. Mountaineers, scuba divers and astronauts walking in space also use this breathing apparatus. Oxygen gas is used to treat victim of carbon monoxide poisoning. The same gas is also used to destroy bacteria.

Respiration

Of all its uses, sustaining life is the most important usage of oxygen. All living organisms need oxygen. Energy from food is generated through a process known as aerobic respiration. This allows animals and humans to perform their daily activities.

Other applications

This gas is used in chemical combustion and water treatment. Many scientific researchers use oxygen-16 and oxygen-18 isotopes in fossils to determine planet’s climate millennia ago. It is also used in antifreeze and polyester polymers production. These polymers are used in order to create plastics and fabrics. Oxygen tanks can also be found in aircraft and submerge vessels.

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