Oxygen is a naturally occurring gas. About 21% of the Earth’s atmosphere is composed of oxygen gas. Moreover, it is also present as a part of several compounds that exist in nature, making it the most common element on Earth. The Oxygen chemical formula is O2. The Oxygen molecule is a covalent compound with electrons shared between two Oxygen atoms. Let us learn more about Oxygen molecules in this chapter.
What is the Chemical Structure of Oxygen?
As stated earlier, the Oxygen molecule is a covalent compound. The Oxygen formula is O2. If you look at an Oxygen atom’s electronic configuration, you will observe that they contain six electrons in their valence shell. Therefore, oxygen atoms require two electrons to complete the octet. In an Oxygen molecule, two electrons from the valence shell of each atom are shared. Due to its high electronegativity, the electrons are shared between the two oxygen atoms rapidly. As a result, the octet is completed. Due to the sharing of electrons, the Oxygen molecule is covalent in nature. The formation of the covalent bond confers stability to the structure of the Oxygen molecule.
What are the Properties of Oxygen?
The structural and molecular formula of Oxygen determines its properties. At normal physiological conditions, the Oxygen molecule exists at the gaseous state. The molecular mass of the Oxygen molecule is 15.999 amu. It has a melting point of -217.9 ᴼC and a boiling point of -182.96 ᴼC.
The Oxygen molecule is highly reactive. It reacts with several elements and compounds in different reactions. It has been a part of several ions like hypochlorite, phosphate, sulfur dioxide, and trioxide ions. It is also an important part of several covalent compounds. All carbohydrates contain Oxygen. It has also been an important part of several functional groups in different organic compounds like aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, etc. Therefore, it plays an important role in the formation of different ionic and covalent compounds.
What are the Uses of Oxygen?
Oxygen is indispensable to life. It is an important part of our life support system. The uses of Oxygen include:
As a life support system in several hospitals. Several patients need to be provided with a separate oxygen supply for artificial breathing.
Oxygen is used as a laboratory reagent for several reactions.
Oxygen is used for smelting iron and steel.
Oxygen is used in the industry for the production of ethylene oxide from ethylene. Ethylene oxide is used for the production of ethylene glycol.
Oxygen is used in water treatment.
Oxygen is used as a component of rocket fuel.
Oxygen is an important gas required to support life, and the Oxygen gas formula is O2. It is a covalent compound and it determines its physicochemical properties. Oxygen has found importance in several industries, laboratories, and hospital purposes.