Published: Jan 2007
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OXYGEN, WHICH CONSTITUTES APPROXIMATELY 21% of the Earth's atmosphere, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas at standard temperature and pressure. The normal boiling point temperature of oxygen is 90.25 K (-297.3°F). High-purity liquid oxygen (LOX) is light blue, odorless, and transparent. Two significant properties of oxygen are its ability to sustain life and its ability to support combustion. Although oxygen itself is chemically stable, is not shock-sensitive, will not decompose, and is not flammable, its use involves a degree of risk that should never be overlooked. Oxygen is a powerful oxidizer in both the gaseous and liquid states. Many materials that will not burn in air will do so in an oxygen-enriched atmosphere and will have lower ignition energies and burn more rapidly. Oxygen is reactive at ambient conditions, and its reactivity increases with increasing pressure, temperature, and concentration.