Monday, July 16, 2018

Ozone

Ozone /ˈoʊzoʊn/, or trioxygen, is an inorganic molecule with the chemical formula O 3. It is a pale blue gas with a distinctively pungent smell. It is an allotrope of oxygen that is much less stable than the diatomic allotrope O 2, breaking down in the lower atmosphere to O 2 or dioxygen. Ozone is formed from dioxygen by the action of ultraviolet light and also atmospheric electrical discharges, and is present in very low concentrations throughout the Earth's atmosphere (stratosphere). Its concentration is highest in the ozone layer region of the atmosphere, which absorbs most of the Sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Ozone's odour is sharp, reminiscent of chlorine, and detectable by many people at concentrations of as little as 100 ppb in air. Ozone's O3 structure was determined in 1865. The molecule was later proven to have a bent structure and to be diamagnetic. In standard conditions, ozone is a pale blue gas that condenses at progressively cryogenic temperatures to a dark blue liquid and finally a violet-black solid. Ozone's instability with regard to more common dioxygen is such that both concentrated gas and liquid ozone may decompose explosively at elevated temperatures or fast warming to the boiling point. It is therefore used commercially only in low concentrations. Ozone is a powerful oxidant (far more so than dioxygen) and has many industrial and consumer applications related to oxidation. This same high oxidising potential, however, causes ozone to damage mucous and respiratory tissues in animals, and also tissues in plants, above concentrations of about 100 ppb. This makes ozone a potent respiratory hazard and pollutant near ground level. However, the ozone layer (a portion of the stratosphere with a higher concentration of ozone, from two to eight ppm) is beneficial, preventing damaging ultraviolet light from reaching the Earth's surface, to the benefit of both plants and animals.

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