ADAM HART-DAVIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ADAM HART-DAVIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Oxygen. Molecular model of oxygen. The two red spheres represent oxygen atoms which are joined by a double bond (grey). Oxygen is a colourless, odourless gas, its molecules comprising 21% by volume of the Earth's atmosphere. Oxygen atoms are found in many chemicals and so comprise 89% and 47% by weight of the Earth's oceans and crust respectively. Oxygen is required for respiration by most animals and plants. It is also required for combustion. Oxygen is manufactured by the distillation of liquid air. It is used commercially in steel making, chemical synthesis, welding, mining, explosives, rocket fuels and sewage digestion.
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