Active Oxygen is a form of oxygen with increased oxidative potential and is used in many industrial and scientific applications. This article will provide an overview of the properties and uses of Active Oxygen, as well as discuss its potential benefits and potential health risks.
1. Definition of Active Oxygen
Active oxygen, also known as ozone or trioxygen, is composed of three atoms of oxygen bonded together. It is a highly reactive form of oxygen and is widely found in nature.
- Chemical Properties – Active oxygen is made of three oxygen atoms that are locked together, making it a very reactive form of oxygen. It will readily react with other molecules, making it an important part of chemical reactions.
- Environmental Impact - Active oxygen plays an important role in nature, breaking down organic materials and purifying air. In the upper atmosphere, it helps to protect the planet from ultraviolet radiation. In lower levels, however, it can be harmful, because it can react with and damage living tissue.
- Uses - Active oxygen is used in a variety of industrial and medical applications. It is often used to purify air, to bleach or sterilize materials, and to remove unpleasant odors. It can also be used to create ozone, which is used to treat wastewater.
- Safety - In its natural form, active oxygen is relatively safe when properly handled. However, it can be toxic in concentrations higher than 0.1 ppm (parts per million). It is important to follow guidelines for safely handling and storing active oxygen.
2. Sources of Active Oxygen
Active oxygen is a byproduct of a range of natural processes, and because of this, it is found in many places. It can also be created artificially, although this usually happens on an industrial scale. Natural and artificial include:
- Combustion of fossil fuels
- Photosynthesis in plants
- Smoke from wildfires
- Chemical reactions such as oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation
The atmospheric concentrations of active oxygen vary depending on the location and the time of day. During the day, active oxygen concentrations in the upper atmosphere increase due to the production of ozone by ultraviolet light. At night, the concentrations decrease due to the decay of ozone.
When active oxygen is produced by photosynthesis and by oxidation, it is generally released immediately into the environment. However, when it is produced by the combustion of fossil fuels, it is usually trapped and released slowly over time. This can create an accumulation of active oxygen in the environment, which can then impact air quality.
Industries are responsible for the bulk of the artificial production of active oxygen. Many industries manufacture products that involve the combustion of fuel and other materials, such as petroleum refineries, factories operating internal combustion engines, and factories that use gas turbines. In addition to these emissions, some industries also generate active oxygen as a byproduct of their manufacturing processes.
3. Uses of Active Oxygen
Active oxygen has become a widely used chemical in everyday life, with a variety of applications. As an oxidizer, it is helpful in removing residual compounds from food and drink, eliminating bad odors, and keeping surfaces clean. Some of the most common are as follows:
- Food Safety: Active oxygen is a popular choice for treating food before and after consumption. It helps to inhibit the growth and transmission of foodborne pathogens, extending shelf-life and enhancing nutritional value without compromising safety. It can also actively break down harmful bacterial toxins and can be used in fish and dairy products to extend their shelf lives.
- Water Treatment: Active oxygen is commonly used in water treatment facilities to speed up the process of disinfecting and sanitizing water. These processes are enhanced through the oxidation of contaminants and organic particles, making them safer for human and animal consumption.
- Sterilization: Active oxygen is often used to sterilize materials that will be used for medical and other safety-related purposes. Sterilization of items such as surgical instruments, implants, or medical devices can be achieved quickly and effectively using active oxygen, as it kills bacteria and other harmful organisms.
The effectiveness of active oxygen in all of its uses is a testament to its reliability and safety. With a variety of applications and advantages, active oxygen has become an essential tool for everyday life.
Related: Where is Oxygen Used?
4. Benefits of Active Oxygen
Active oxygen is composed of short-lived, active forms of oxygen, such as ozone and free radicals, and has been known to be a beneficial and powerful tool against bacteria proliferation. Here are the main benefits of active oxygen:
- It is non-toxic and eco-friendly: Active oxygen does not create any dangerous by-products, like chlorine or hydrogen peroxide, and can be easily disposed of after use.
- It works quickly and is more effective: Its active molecules can penetrate through the cell walls more quickly and effectively, making it safe and effective to use.
- It leaves surfaces residue-free: Active oxygen molecules are so reactive that they oxidize any and all bacteria and pollutants on contact, leaving surfaces free of residue.
Also, active oxygen does not leave behind any chemical residues that could harm people or the environment. This makes it suitable for use in various industrial and commercial applications.
Furthermore, active oxygen has been employed in a variety of health-promoting activities, such as treating infected wounds, reducing wrinkles, and even restoring skin elasticity. In addition, active oxygen has been used in the treatment of cancerous cells.
Overall, active oxygen is an effective and powerful weapon against bacteria proliferation, with no environmentally-threatening toxic by-products and fast and effective treatment.
5. Potential Risks of Active Oxygen
When used incorrectly active oxygen can bring potential risks. It should be handled with caution and understanding. Here are five potential risks associated with the use of active oxygen:
- Burns: If oxygen is not contained properly it can cause burns, especially to hands and skin.
- Fire: Active oxygen is highly flammable and can act as a fire accelerant if not used properly.
- Damage to Property: Under pressure, active oxygen can cause physical damage to property such as furniture, walls, and carpets.
- Explosions: Oxygen can be combined with fuel, such as natural gas, to create a hazardous explosion.
- Pressure Injury: High concentrations of oxygen can cause physical damage to the lungs and other organs.
As can be seen, active oxygen should be handled properly and responsibly. Following safety protocols and instructions is the best way to prevent harm as a result of using active oxygen. Working with an experienced professional is also recommended.
It is important to be aware of any potential risks associated with active oxygen. Knowing the risks can help to reduce the likelihood of injury or harm and ensure the proper use of active oxygen.
In conclusion, active oxygen is an essential process that facilitates various interactions between molecules, including the breakdown and synthesis of organic compounds. Furthermore, active oxygen can be found in various forms in nature and can be utilized in a number of industrial applications. Understanding the basics of active oxygen gives us further insight into how oxygen and other molecules react in many different settings.