Essay: Why is the spillage of liquid oxygen hazardous

Essay: Why is the spillage of liquid oxygen hazardous
May 26, 2011 Comments Off on Essay: Why is the spillage of liquid oxygen hazardous Academic Papers on Health and Medicine,Sample Academic Papers admin

Sample Essay

Oxygen in its gaseous state is colorless and odorless and makes up the largest percentage of gases in the atmosphere.  In its liquid form, however, it is characterized by its low temperature, low boiling point and its pale blue color. Liquid oxygen is a cryogenically liquefied version of its gaseous state with a boiling point of 297.3°F or -183.0°C. One of the most essential safety concerns regarding liquid oxygen is to be keep the temperature differential between the product and the surrounding environment at an optimal level since it is a highly combustible liquid. A cryogenic storage tank with a pressure valve and one or more vaporizers are typically used to safely store it along with the necessary piping for vaporizer and supply functions.

While Oxygen in it gaseous form is nontoxic and does not have any ill effects except at much greater concentrations. However, when it is spilled on an organic material such as asphalt it can result in two scenarios. The most likely scenario is that due to its combustibility, any spark or flame near it will cause a massive explosion. The explosion may cause harm to any individuals in its proximity. Additionally, if liquid oxygen is spilled on asphalt any individual whose skin comes into contact with it will experience severe frostbite and cryogenic burns; this is due to its severely low boiling point. Additionally, spilling on asphalt increases the surface area with which the liquid comes in contact. This increase in surface area along with the surrounding environmental temperature allows it to change into its gaseous state. Inhalation of this gas or liquid oxygen can lead to cryogenic burns in the lungs.

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