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Interesting Facts About Oxygen

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Last updated date: 24th Jul 2024
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Oxygen: An Introduction

Oxygen is the 8th element in the periodic table and is one of the most vital elements. It is absolutely necessary for sustaining life since all organisms breathe in the oxygen.

It has two isotopes and two allotropic forms both of which play an important role, one of it being dioxygen and the other ozone which protects us from harmful UV rays. In this article, we will talk about some interesting facts about oxygen and state its characters and features like, symbol of oxygen, properties of oxygen, discovery of oxygen, etc. 

Discovery of Oxygen

Oxygen was first discovered by Joseph Priestley in 1774. But the credit for discovering Oxygen goes to three people, firstly Joseph Priestly who was the first person to report about the gas by focusing sunlight on mercuric oxide and collecting the gas which was released during the process. He noted that a candle burned more efficiently in the presence of this gas and the gas made breathing easier. Carl, another scientist, had produced oxygen in 1771 and wrote a report about it which wasn’t published until 1777. Lastly, Antoine Lavoisier also claimed to have discovered the gas and he was the one who gave the name oxygen to the gas. 

Symbol of Oxygen

Symbol of Oxygen: Elemental Form

Symbol of Oxygen: Elemental Form

Symbol of Dioxygen: Molecular Form

Symbol of Dioxygen: Molecular Form

Properties of Oxygen

Some properties of oxygen are mentioned below.

  • Oxygen is a colourless and odourless gas. 

  • It is slightly heavier than air.

  • It makes up around 21% of air.

  • It is only slightly soluble in water. 

  • It is a neutral gas, that is, it is neither acidic nor basic in nature. 

  • It is a highly reactive element.

  • It reacts with other elements to form their respective oxides.

Interesting Facts About Oxygen

Some interesting facts about oxygen are discussed in this section.

  • Under normal temperature and conditions, two oxygen atoms combine to form dioxygen molecules. 

  • The dioxygen molecule is the most common form of oxygen. 

  • It reacts with various other elements to form their respective oxides, for example, water is simply dihydrogen oxide. 

  • Oxygen is absolutely essential for human life since it's in the air that we breathe. 

  • It is the third most abundant element in the entire universe, the top two being hydrogen followed by helium. 

  • Ozone is an allotrope of dioxygen, it is made up of three oxygen atoms. 

  • It forms a protective layer above our atmosphere and stops the harmful UV rays from entering our atmosphere. 

  • Oxygen makes up approximately 1% of the total mass of the Sun. 

  • Oxygen promotes and is sometimes necessary for combustion.

Uses of Oxygen

Some uses of oxygen are mentioned in this section.

  • One of the most important uses of oxygen is that it makes up to 21% of air that we breathe in. 

  • Oxygen Therapy is one of the most common medical treatments. 

  • Oxygen is essential for combustion. Thus, it is required for the burning of fuel effectively and releases energy to its full potential. 

  • It is also used in water treatment. 

  • It has a lot of industrial uses such as it is used in the smelting of ores. 

  • It is also used in rocket fuels.

Sample Questions

  1. What do you mean by the term oxygen?

Ans: The term oxygen was given to the gas of the element by Antoine Lavoisier. It translates to ‘acid forming’ because it was thought to be the basic element of all acids.

  1. State whether the given statements are correctly stated or not.

1. Oxygen promotes combustion.

Ans: True

2. The credit for discovering oxygen goes solely to Joseph Priestly. 

Ans: False, the credit for the discovery of oxygen is given to three scientists. Joseph Priestly is one of them.

Learning by Doing 

Complete the statements mentioned below by filling in the blanks.

  1. Oxygen is the ________ element in the periodic table. 

Ans: eighth

  1. It has ______ allotropic forms. 

Ans: two

  1. It mainly exists as _______.

Ans: dioxygen

  1. It reacts with elements to form their respective _________. 

Ans: oxides


Oxygen is the eighth element in the periodic table and is one of the most salient elements. It was first discovered and reported by Joseph Priestly in 1774, but it was first made by Carl in 1771 who didn’t publish his report on the gas till 1777. Antoine Lavoisier is another scientist who claims to have discovered the gas, and he gave the name oxygen to the gas. Oxygen is essential for human life because we breathe it in, it is a tasteless, colourless, and odourless gas and promotes combustion. It has two allotropes, namely dioxygen and ozone.

FAQs on Interesting Facts About Oxygen

1. How many litres of oxygen do we breathe in per min?

Oxygen forms 21% of the air that we breathe in and is absolutely necessary for the human body to perform its normal functions. The human lungs breathe in 5-6 ml of oxygen per minute.

2. What should we keep in mind while working with oxygen?

Since oxygen promotes combustion, thus the number one thing which we should keep in mind in order to safely use oxygen for different purposes is that we keep it away from any source which can catch fire; for example, a match stick or a lighter since it will burn faster in the presence of additional oxygen which can be dangerous.

3. Is oxygen addictive?

People use artificial sources of oxygen due to any medical issues, which may be difficulty in breathing which again can be due to various different medical conditions. No, taking in oxygen is not addictive, since it is a basic requirement for the body and in healthy conditions as well, everyone breathes in the oxygen, thus taking in oxygen in any other form than normal breathing is not addictive.