Periodic Table of the Elements: Oxygen

Name: Oxygen
Symbol: O
Atomic Number: 8
Atomic Mass: 15.9994
Atomic Volume: 10.89 cc/mol
Discovered By: First isolated by Priestley in 1774
Discovery Date: 1774
Origin of Name: Oxygen - (Greek) oxys (sharp, acid) genes (forming)
Toxicity: Not toxic. Excess oxygen under pressure leads to inflammatory process in the organism.
Summary: Oxygen gas (O 2 ) makes up 21% of the atmosphere by volume. Oxygen does not burn, but is necessary to support combustion. Higher concentrations of O 2 will cause faster and hotter combustion. This is the basis of the oxy-acetylene torch used for welding. Oxygen is essential for respiration of all plants and animals. Ozone (O 3 ) is another elemental form of oxygen. It is formed when O 2 is subjected to ultraviolet light or electric discharge. Its presence in the stratosphere is essential for absorbing UV light and preventing its reaching earth's surface.

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© Copyright 1998 David August