In our last article on oxygen facts, we learned about some really cool facts. But, we didn’t cover surprising oxygen facts. So, if you are looking for such facts or perhaps, little known facts about this element, continue reading. We are pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.
Surprising Oxygen Facts You Must Know: 1-5
1. Oxygen itself never burns. It only helps with combustion. Have you ever thought what would happen if oxygen were to burn? You light a lighter or a matchstick and that will burn down all the oxygen present in our atmosphere.
2. In entire universe, oxygen is the third most abundant element.
3. Oxygen is the most abundant element present in Earth’s crust. About 47% of Earth’s crust is made of oxygen. Remaining is made up of 4 major elements – calcium, iron, silica and aluminum. There are other elements too but they are available in very small quantities. In fact, 90% or more of the total weight of Earth’s crust comes from oxygen, silica, iron, calcium and aluminum.
4. You know what? Oxygen can be converted into solid too. It becomes solid at a temperature below (-361.82 degrees Fahrenheit or -218.79 degrees Celsius).
5. The solid oxygen is also clear but has a pale sky-blue color.
Surprising Oxygen Facts You Must Know: 6-10
6. Two-thirds of human body mass is made of oxygen. How so? See, water make up 70% of our body and water in turn consist of 88.9% oxygen. This makes oxygen the most abundant element in human body.
7. Oxygen in gaseous format is actually divalent. It means that two atoms of oxygen form one molecule of oxygen and that is how it is present in our atmosphere. It is represented as O2.
8. Funny thing, oxygen is also present in form of O3. This means that there are three atoms of oxygen in a molecule. This format is known as allotrope and O3 goes by the name Ozone. Ozone is also pure oxygen but far more reactive than O2.
9. Oxygen is known to be paramagnetic. What does that mean? It means that oxygen gets attracted to magnet but this attraction is only very weak. Oxygen is not capable of maintaining permanent magnetism.
10. Oxygen molecules are responsible for generating colors like yellow-green, green, bright red etc. But they need to be in excited state. The aurora (Northern Lights) that we see are caused by excited oxygen molecules. When oxygen molecules get excited, they split into atoms. These atoms then start emitting photons and hence, lose energy. When they start losing photons, they produce light.
Surprising Oxygen Facts You Must Know: 11-15
11. Oxygen is a non-metallic element. But of all non-metallic elements, it is actually the most reactive.
12. Cold water has more dissolved oxygen than warm water. This is why polar oceans have more oxygen dissolved in them than normal oceans and seas.
13. We said in our previous article that too much oxygen is not good. There is a technical term for this. It is called oxygen poisoning. Breathing air consisting of 50% oxygen can lead to oxygen poisoning and symptoms include seizures, muscle twitching, coughing, vision loss etc.
14. Today oxygen is essential but when oxygen first starting building up in Earth’s atmosphere, it was not a very happy scenario. Anaerobic organisms (that don’t use oxygen for survival), started dying off. It was a massacre actually.
15. Why is oxygen so reactive? It is because of its atomic structure. See, an atom of oxygen has in total 8 electrons. Of these 8, 2 are found in the innermost part orbiting the nucleus of the atom. The remaining 6 keep orbiting in the outermost shell. The weird thing here is that the outer shell can actually accommodate 8 electrons. It constantly searches for those 2 electrons. As a result, it reacts with other elements to fulfill the need for those two additional electrons.