Why is oxygen usually in the form O2?

Cecil, you make a valiant attempt to teach some basic chemistry to the ignorant masses - but you seem to be confusing atomic orbitals with shells.

They are definitely not the same thing - in the same way that a county is not the same as a state, and a state is not the same as the USA!

An orbital can only contain a maximum of TWO electrons. Ever. End of. Never, never eight!

Orbitals can be grouped into sub-shells. These can contain a maximum of 1, 3, 5, 7 etc orbitals, so a maximum of 2, 6, 10, 14, electrons…

Sub- shells can group into shells, with a maximum of 2, 8, 18, 32… electrons each.

The business about eight electrons in almost all the shells isn’t really true - it just happens to work for the small, simple atoms that you get told about when first learning chemistry at school. I’m sure that Cecil is smart enough to know this and is simplifying it for his readers in the same way that high school chemistry teachers have to…

Understand this pattern and you’ll see why the periodic table has that weird shape rather than being a plain, dull rectangle. Neat, eh?

The REALLY neat thing is actually that Mendeleev worked out the shape of the periodic table purely from experimental evidence, before we knew anything about how electrons were organised in atoms.

Welcome to the SDMB, David Lowe, we like for everyone to post a link to the article they’re commenting on so everyone is on the same page:

Why is oxygen usually in the form O2?

Also, the article wasn’t written by Cecil. It’s a staff report by Hawk.

I am retired from NASA’s Glenn Research Center, and spent some time working in our large vacuum chambers. We had the ability to produce O1 (atomic oxygen). It is extremely reactive and would not remain as O1 for very long. I was a project engineer when we tested the first prototype panel for the Space Station solar array.

Although atomic oxygen is the main component in low earth orbit, we were not able to test the array with it because we could not get the safety permit approved. One of the problems when using atomic oxygen in large facilities is to make sure it is completely consumed before it can enter the vacuum pumps, where it will rapidly degrade the oil.

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/atomic_oxygen.html

Dennis

Nonetheless, it is comforting to know that my chair is in no danger of turning into an aardvark.

Republican conventions have fewer hookers than Democratic conventions?

Really? :dubious:

Aardvarks aren’t dangerous to hookers, no matter the valence.

I do find it pretty amazing that Mendeleev created the periodic table from experiment without understanding how electrons are located in atoms.

Mendeleev wasn’t the first to recognize the repeating pattern in a simple table of elements arranged by average atomic weight. Where he was original, and rather daring, was that he was willing to say, “These two elements are out of order for some reason I don’t understand,” (it was isotopes) and, “There is an element missing here; I predict that it will have the following characteristics,” and being right on both.

Heck, I was surprised to learn, relatively recently, that the so-called inert gasses can in fact form weakly stable molecules, if it’s with the ravenously greedy hyper-electronegative fluorine. When I saw XeF[sub]4[/sub] in a college textbook, I thought it was a typo at first. Now I picture it as four drunken fratboys gangraping a roofied high-school girl, for some reason.
Just saying.

FTR, this will never be funny no matter how clever you think it may be.

Just saying.

Moderator Note

Next time, don’t bother. We really don’t need this kind of comment here. No warning issued.

Colibri
Comments Moderator

So why can’t we breathe O3? (I hate questions which are left hanging.)

It’s more reactive that O2. It will react with the lining of your whole airway: from mouth-nose to lungs. It will damage these tissues in very low concentrations. (It can also basically burn your eyes.) O2 passes by all that and into your blood with little effect.

That “fresh” smell after a lightning storm? Ozone. The concentration: incredibly tiny. Keep smelling that concentration enough and you’re going to suffer damage. Never mind something like 21% O3. A horrible way to die.

that explains why ozone chambers are used to freshen permeables (clothes books etc) after a fire. Always wondered about that and why it was only done with a timer after the shop was closed and everyone was gone for the night.