About Liquid Oxygen

By Faith Davies; Updated April 24, 2017
Rocket fuel is only one of liquid oxygen's many applications.

Liquid oxygen is the liquid form of the gaseous oxygen necessary for human life. It has many uses, but there are also definite dangers involved in working with liquid oxygen.

History

Liquid oxygen was first created under laboratory conditions in on April 5, 1883. This was achieved by a compressor created by Polish chemists Karol Olszewski and Zygmunt Wróblewski at Jagiellonian University in Cracov.

Production

To produce liquid oxygen, air is compressed and cooled to -196 degrees Celsius. The gases in the air are liquid at this point before the room is heated -183, reverting the nitrogen in the air to gas and leaving only liquid oxygen behind.

Features

Liquid oxygen is pale blue in color and extremely cold. It is stored under pressure in specially designed metal containers.

Uses

Liquid oxygen is used in cryogenics. It is also used in the production of rocket fuel and can be used to make explosives.

Warnings

Liquid oxygen is non-toxic, but its extremely low temperatures can cause severe burns rather quickly and can also make structural items brittle and dangerously unstable. Liquid oxygen is also highly flammable.

About the Author

Faith Davies has been writing professionally since 1996, contributing to various websites. She holds an LAH insurance license in the state of Pennsylvania and has experience as a bank branch manager and lending officer. Davies graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in art history.