Ozone

Ozone ( /ˈoʊzoʊn/; O3), or trioxygen, is a triatomic molecule, consisting of three oxygen atoms. It is an allotrope of oxygen that is much less stable than the diatomic allotrope (O2), breaking down with a half life of roughly 30 minutes in the lower atmosphere, to normal dioxygen. Ozone is formed from dioxygen by the action of ultraviolet light and also atmospheric electrical discharges, and is present in low concentrations throughout the Earth's atmosphere. In total, ozone makes up only 0.6 parts per million of the atmosphere.

Ozone was proposed as a new substance in air in 1840, and named, even before its chemical nature was known, after the Greek verb ozein (ὄζειν, "to smell"), from the peculiar odor after lightning storms. Ozone's odor is sharp, reminiscent of chlorine, and detectable by many people at concentrations of as little as 10 parts per billion in air. Ozone's O3 formula 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. 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 oxidizing potential, however, causes ozone to damage mucus and respiratory tissues in animals, and also tissues in plants, above concentrations of about 100 parts per billion. This makes ozone a potent respiratory hazard and pollutant near ground level. However, the so-called 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.

Read more about Ozone:  History, Physical Properties, Structure, Reactions, Ozone in Earth's Atmosphere, Production

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