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Is Magnesium A Stronger Oxidizing Agent Than Oxygen, How Do I Identify Good Oxidising Agents

Know the occurrence and properties of oxygen. Know reactions involving oxygen as an oxidizing agent.

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Elemental oxygen is a strong oxidizing agent. It reacts with most other elements and many compounds. Oxygen was isolated by Michael Sendivogius before 1604, but it is commonly believed that the element was discovered independently by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, in Uppsala, in 1773 or earlier, and Joseph Priestley in Wiltshire, in 1774. The name oxygen was coined in 1777 by Antoine Lavoisier, who first recognized oxygen as a nadechworld.comical element and correctly characterized the role it plays in combustion.

Oxygen: Occurrence and Properties

By mass, oxygen is the third-most abundant element in the universe, after hydrogen and helium.

Oxygen is the most abundant element on the earth’s crust. About 50% of the mass of the earth’s crust consists of oxygen (combined with other elements, principally silicon). Oxygen occurs as O2 molecules and, to a limited extent, as O3 (ozone) molecules in air. It forms about 20% of the mass of the air. About 89% of water by mass consists of combined oxygen. In combination with carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen, oxygen is a large part of plants and animals.

Oxygen is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas at ordinary temperatures. It is slightly denser than air. Although it is only slightly soluble in water (49 mL of gas dissolves in 1 L at STP), oxygen’s solubility is very important to aquatic life.

One hundred million tonnes (also known as metric ton) of O2 are extracted from air for industrial uses annually. The most common method is fractional distillation of liquefied air. The separation of oxygen from air begins with cooling and compressing the air until it liquefies. As liquid air warms, oxygen with its higher boiling point (90 K, -183oC) separates from nitrogen, which has a lower boiling point (77 K, -196oC).

Oxygen is essential in combustion processes such as the burning of fuels.

All combustion reactions are also examples of redox reactions. A combustion reaction occurs when a substance reacts with oxygen to create heat. One example is the combustion of octane, the principle component of gasoline:

<2 C_8H_{18} (l) + 25 O_2 (g) ightarrow 16 CO_2 (g) + 18 H_2O (g) >

Combustion reactions are a major source of energy for modern industry.

Plants and animals use the oxygen from the air in respiration. The administration of oxygen-enriched air is an important medical practice when a patient is receiving an inadequate supply of oxygen because of shock, pneumonia, or some other illness.

The nadechworld.comical industry employs oxygen for oxidizing many substances. A significant amount of oxygen produced commercially is important in the removal of carbon from iron during steel production. Large quantities of pure oxygen are also necessary in metal fabrication and in the cutting and welding of metals with oxyhydrogen and oxyacetylene torches.

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Liquid oxygen is important to the space industry. It is an oxidizing agent in rocket engines. It is also the source of gaseous oxygen for life support in space.

As we know, oxygen is very important to life. The energy required for the maintenance of normal body functions in human beings and in other organisms comes from the slow oxidation of nadechworld.comical compounds. Oxygen is the final oxidizing agent in these reactions. In humans, oxygen passes from the lungs into the blood, where it combines with hemoglobin, producing oxyhemoglobin. In this form, blood transports the oxygen to tissues, where it is transferred to the tissues. The ultimate products are carbon dioxide and water. The blood carries the carbon dioxide through the veins to the lungs, where the blood releases the carbon dioxide and collects another supply of oxygen. Digestion and assimilation of food regenerate the materials consumed by oxidation in the body; the energy liberated is the same as if the food burned outside the body.

Oxygen: Reactions with Other Elements

Oxygen reacts directly at room temperature or at elevated temperatures with all other elements except the noble gases, the halogens, and few second- and third-row transition metals of low reactivity (those with higher reduction potentials than copper). Rust is an example of the reaction of oxygen with iron. The more active metals form peroxides or superoxides. Less active metals and the nonmetals give oxides. Two examples of these reactions are:

The oxides of halogens, at least one of the noble gases, and metals with higher reduction potentials than copper do not form by the direct action of the elements with oxygen.

Oxygen: Reaction with Compounds

Elemental oxygen also reacts with some compounds. If it is possible to oxidize any of the elements in a given compound, further oxidation by oxygen can occur. For example, hydrogen sulfide, H2S, contains sulfur with an oxidation state of 2−. Because the sulfur does not exhibit its maximum oxidation state, we would expect H2S to react with oxygen. It does, yielding water and sulfur dioxide. The reaction is:

It is also possible to oxidize oxides such as CO and P4O6 that contain an element with a lower oxidation state. The ease with which elemental oxygen picks up electrons is mirrored by the difficulty of removing electrons from oxygen in most oxides. Of the elements, only the very reactive fluorine can oxidize oxides to form oxygen gas.

Most nonmetals react with oxygen to form nonmetal oxides. Depending on the available oxidation states for the element, a variety of oxides might form. Fluorine will combine with oxygen to form fluorides such as OF2, where the oxygen has a 2+-oxidation state.

Sulfur Oxygen Compounds

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The two common oxides of sulfur are sulfur dioxide, SO2, and sulfur trioxide, SO3. The odor of burning sulfur comes from sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide, occurs in volcanic gases Figure (PageIndex{1}) and in the atmosphere near industrial plants that burn fuel containing sulfur compounds.

Figure (PageIndex{1}) Mount Mayon volcano (Philippines) erupting in the early morning of January 23, 2018.

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Ozone: Another Form of Oxygen

When dry oxygen is passed between two electrically charged plates, ozone (O3, illustrated in Figure (PageIndex{2})), an allotrope of oxygen possessing a distinctive odor, forms. The formation of ozone from oxygen is an endothermic reaction, in which the energy comes from an electrical discharge, heat, or ultraviolet light:

The sharp odor associated with sparking electrical equipment is due, in part, to ozone.

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