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Physical and Chemical Properties of Oxygen (page 3)

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Author: Janice VanCleave

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  1. Oxygen was discovered, but not recognized as a true element, by Carl Wilhelm Scheele in about 1772 and independently by Englishman Joseph Priestley in 1774. Antoine Lavoisier, a French chemist, extended and interpreted the experiments of Scheele and Priestley and gave the gas its name. Find out more about the discovery of oxygen. By what methods did Scheele and Priestley produce oxygen? What discoveries did Lavoisier make about the gas?
  2. LOX (liquid oxygen) is used in many spacecraft for the very rapid combustion of the fuel needed to provide energy for liftoff. Find out more about the uses of oxygen such as the following:
    • respiration
    • treatment of water and sewage
    • Manufacture of steel
    • production of other chemical compounds (detergents, synthetic gasoline, antifreeze, alcohols)
  3. Much is heard about the earth's ozone layer and its depletion. Use a chemistry text to find out more about this naturally occurring allotropic form of oxygen. An allotrope is the molecular form of an element that exists in two or more different forms, such as oxygen (O2) and ozone (O2). What are the physical and chemical differences between oxygen and ozone? How is oxygen converted into ozone? What is causing the damage to the ozone layer?
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