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What is oxygen used for?

A welding torch burns acetylene gas in oxygen. This produces an intense heat that is high enough to melt steel. Two melted steel...Read More >>A welding torch burns acetylene gas in oxygen. This produces an intense heat that is high enough to melt steel. Two melted steel edges are pressed together. When they cool, they are joined up permanently.Oxygen is one of the commonest chemical elements on Earth. It is found in most minerals, chemicals that form rocks. Oxygen makes up one fifth of the air. Joined with hydrogen, it forms water. Oxygen joins up easily with many other elements in chemical reactions. This kind of reaction is called oxidation. Sometimes this is a slow process, as when iron turns to rust in water or damp air. But if oxygen reacts very quickly, a process called combustion, or burning, takes place. Flames, light and heat are the result.



A rusting crane. Oxygen reacts with iron to form iron oxide, or rust. This kind of chemical reaction is called oxidation. 
 

A scuba diver breathes oxygen from a tank on her back.

Respiration

We cannot see, smell or taste oxygen, but it is essential for life. All animals, including humans, must breathe oxygen to stay alive. It is used as fuel to turn the food we eat into energy. This is called respiration.

Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the Universe, after hydrogen and helium.

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