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TABLE 11-1 Physical and Chemical Properties of Oxygena

Synonyms and trade names

Molecular oxygen

CAS registry number

7782-44-7

Molecular formula

O2

Molecular weight

32

Boiling point

−182.96°C

Melting point

−218.4°C

Flash point

Explosive limits

Density

1.429 g/L at 0°C

Vapor pressure

760 mmHg at −183.1°C

Solubility

1 volume of gas dissolves in 32 volumes of water or 7 volumes of alcohol at 20°C; soluble in other organic liquids

Conversion factors

1 ppm = 1.31 mg/m3; 1 mg/m3 = 0.76 ppm

aData on vapor pressure were taken from HSDB (2004); all other data were taken from Budavari et al. (1989).

Abbreviations: g/L, grams per liter; mg/m3, milligrams per cubic meter; mmHg, millimeters of mercury; ppm, parts per million; —, not available or not applicable.

Ambient air is composed of 20.9% oxygen, 78.1% nitrogen, 0.03% carbon dioxide, and less than 1% other gases (Lide 1991). Data collected on nine nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines indicate an average partial pressure of oxygen (PO2, the product of the barometric pressure and the percentage of oxygen in the ambient atmosphere) of 148 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and a range of 123-188 mmHg; data collected on 10 nuclear-powered attack submarines indicate an average PO2 of 149 mmHg and a range of 118-180 mmHg (Hagar 2003). See Box 11-1 for descriptions of terms related to gas pressures and oxygen physiology.

SUMMARY OF TOXICITY AND ADVERSE RESPONSES ASSOCIATED WITH LOW-OXYGEN ENVIRONMENTS

Oxygen is a highly combustible gas that is necessary to sustain animal life. Excessive amounts of oxygen in the system (hyperoxia) can be detrimental to human health. Oxygen toxicity can occur with exposure to hyperoxic conditions at ambient pressure or in hyperbaric environments. Oxygen toxicity is characterized by pulmonary toxicity, neurotoxicity, and



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