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All oxygen gas molecules are composed of 2 atoms

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Topic: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone  (Read 30120 times)

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fritnat

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terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« on: May 08, 2006, 09:21:56 AM »


We have had quite a discussion about the above statement on another forum and we would now like the opinion from som chemists!

We know the facts but we disagree about the terminology. One view is that oxygen gas means dioxygen and only dioxygen while the opposing view is that it means any of the allotropes of oxygen in a gaseous phase.

I am interested to know the perception of the term among chemists.

Thank you
« Last Edit: May 08, 2006, 09:31:30 AM by fritnat »

Offline Albert

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Re: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2006, 12:48:39 PM »
I'd opt for the former.

Offline xiankai

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Re: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2006, 06:40:08 AM »
oxygen gas is commonly known to be dioxygen; i dont see why they should be meant as allotropes of oxygen when it isnt a scientific name to begin with.
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fritnat

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Re: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2006, 04:01:27 PM »
oxygen gas is commonly known to be dioxygen; i dont see why they should be meant as allotropes of oxygen when it isnt a scientific name to begin with.

I suppose those with that opinion consider oxygen gas as a perfectly valid scientific term which is misused when meaning dioxygen only!

Offline mike

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Re: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2006, 10:17:29 PM »
Oxygen gas = O2

It may include isotopes I suppose but not allotropes.

I have never heard it used differently, can you give an example of where oxygen gas may refer to ozone O3?
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Offline AWK

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Re: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2006, 04:08:29 AM »
Oxygen is an element. In common practise (between chemists) its name means also the most widespread form of this element, ie. natural dioxygen. But as usually, one word can possess many meanings depending on context, eg: music is your oxygen.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2006, 04:11:26 AM by AWK »
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fritnat

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Re: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2006, 08:09:23 PM »
Oxygen gas = O2

It may include isotopes I suppose but not allotropes.

I have never heard it used differently, can you give an example of where oxygen gas may refer to ozone O3?

Sure http://ehs.ucdavis.edu/sftynet/sn-63.cfm: Ozone is a very reactive form of oxygen gas.

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Re: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2006, 08:18:41 PM »
As an engineer, I will refer O2 as oxygen gas and O3 as ozone.
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Offline xiankai

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Re: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2006, 09:44:15 PM »
i think for a very broad and literal interpretation, oxygen gas can refer to any gas that composes entirely of oxygen atoms.

but we chemists prefer to keep things simple. we dont use a term to refer to everything, when it is already ingrained in the common public.

did u know that the reason why it is taught in schools(at least mine) that positive charges flowed from positive ends to negative ends, even though we all know that it is actually electrons that flow vice versa? (the schools add a footnote about this too though) because of convention. yes, because it was already a commonly-accepted notion.

in this case the situation is less severe, because u want to expand the current definition for a "whole" concept. but u have my 2 cents :)
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fritnat

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Re: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2006, 04:21:42 AM »
Oxygen is an element. In common practise (between chemists) its name means also the most widespread form of this element, ie. natural dioxygen. But as usually, one word can possess many meanings depending on context, eg: music is your oxygen.

I have no problem going along with what is commonly meant between chemists. However the terminology of scientific statements meant for the broad public is another matter! For example what is common occurence for chemists is obviously not the same as what I understand it to mean! Therefore I would quibble about dioxygen being the most common form of the element oxygen. Occurence for me is mostly understood to mean on the earth's surface and then I would say the element oxygen most commonly occurs as ionically bonded to other elements for example as water. In the universe I'm not so sure but I would be surprised if it was as dioxygen.

I think we can agree that "music is your oxygen" is not a scientific statement!

fritnat

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Re: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2006, 04:34:06 AM »
To consider ozone an allotrope of oxygen is a stretch of the term allotrope to begin with.

When I order oxygen it better not have any ozone in it!

It is :o  :o  :o

I thought it was a classic example used in school textbooks. Things must really have changed since I had chemistry lessons!

Well according to Wikedepedia it is anyway! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth's_atmosphere:ozone is an allotrope of oxygen.

When I order timber it had better not be balsam! But strictly speaking I would still regard balsam as timber - though for constructing model planes not buildings.

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Re: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2006, 05:22:06 AM »
To consider ozone an allotrope of oxygen is a stretch of the term allotrope to begin with.

Why? It seems to perfectly fit the definition. It is pure element in different molecular/structural form.
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Re: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2006, 06:41:56 PM »
Yeah, I'm probably wrong. I just don't like it. :P
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Offline mike

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Re: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2006, 09:40:08 PM »
Quote
Sure http://ehs.ucdavis.edu/sftynet/sn-63.cfm: Ozone is a very reactive form of oxygen gas.

OK, but this is not written specifically for chemists, and you were after a chemist's opinion. Is this the article that you are discussing? If so then the description is probably good enough for a general audience.

I think ozone is an allotrope of oxygen.

If I asked a chemist for oxygen cylinder I would no doubt get O2.

If I wanted ozone I would need to specifiy, ozone.

Oxygen gas means dioxygen.
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fritnat

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Re: terminology: Oxygen gas/Ozone
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2006, 03:15:29 PM »
Quote
Sure http://ehs.ucdavis.edu/sftynet/sn-63.cfm: Ozone is a very reactive form of oxygen gas.

OK, but this is not written specifically for chemists, and you were after a chemist's opinion. Is this the article that you are discussing? If so then the description is probably good enough for a general audience.

I think ozone is an allotrope of oxygen.

If I asked a chemist for oxygen cylinder I would no doubt get O2.

If I wanted ozone I would need to specifiy, ozone.

Oxygen gas means dioxygen.

True enough. I was however expecting  a rigorous scientific logic in terminology not chemist's day to day jargon! Naturally oxygen means dioxygen, not only for a chemist asking for an oxygen cylinder but a welder, diver, nurse or anybody else for that matter. Logically however if ozone and dioxygen are both allotropes of oxygen then an oxygen molecule can be either. Whether the molecule is solid, liquid or gaseous is of course irrelevant.

No this is not an article we were discussing. Somebody just made the statement as an example of a scientific truth that's all!

How about the following postulate: All crystalline sulphur molecules are composed of 8 atoms, resulting in a protest because there exists a sulphur allotrope with 7 atoms also in crystaline form. Could one then say that crystalline sulphur is understood to mean the 8 atomic allotrope being the most common and this is what you get if you order sulphur?

I suppose judging by this I'd better accept that things are not always logical even in science  ::)
No wonder school kids get confused...

Thanks anyway for answering me!

« Last Edit: May 15, 2006, 03:22:37 PM by fritnat »

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