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Posted on August 20th, 2012, by

Chemical reactions take place when bonds appear or break between molecules. The importance of knowledge about chemical reactions can be hardly overestimated concerning scientific issues. It can be said without exaggeration that modern production and elaboration of new goods are largely the contribution of chemical science and the knowledge about the properties of materials and substances.

The reactions can be divided into two main classes: analysis reactions, also called decomposition, where the molecule is broken apart into constituents, and synthesis, when several atoms or molecules unite into one new substance. This essay is dedicated to the analysis of oxygen reactions that take place at different rates: the aim of the essay is to discuss quick reactions, medium time reactions and speedy reactions, and define the fuel, the oxidizer and the products of oxidation reactions.

First reaction is a corrosion reaction (Pauling, 1988, p.242):

2Fe + O2 à 2FeO.

Here the iron is slowly corroded by oxygen; the reaction may take place for a long period of time in normal conditions (without additional heat etc). In the reaction the oxidizer is oxygen itself, or open air (in the case of air, which consists of oxygen mixed with other gases), the reaction will take more time. The iron is being oxidized, and the result of reaction is iron oxide.

Second reaction is the one that takes place with medium speed (Pauling, 1988, p.251):


Bivalent nitrogen oxide is being further oxidized, and the result of oxidization is also nitrogen oxide, but nitrogen in this combination is quadrivalent. As in the previous equation, oxygen itself serves as the oxidizer.

The third reaction is the example of the quick reaction, it is the interaction of phosphorus with a significant number of oxygen (Petrucci & Harwood & Herring, 2006, p. 247):


In this case phosphorus is being oxidized, i.e. it is the fuel, oxygen, as in other reactions, serves as the oxidizer and the result of the reaction is phosphorus oxide.

In general, knowledge about oxidation reactions and the conditions of their course is important both in everyday life and in investigating chemical process where oxygen is used.

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