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# I am a pale blue gas, dark blue liquid and violet-black solid. I am thermodynamically unstable with respect to oxygen. I am a powerful oxidising agent. If my concentration in air rises, your breathing becomes uncomfortable resulting in headache and nausea. WHO AM I?

(a) Carbon dioxide
(b) Ozone
(c) Carbon monoxide
(d) Sulphur
Can you answer this question?

## 1 Answer

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Answer: Ozone

Pure ozone is a pale blue gas, dark blue liquid and violet-black solid. Ozone has a characteristic smell and in small concentrations it is harmless. However, if the concentration rises above about 100 parts per million, breathing becomes uncomfortable resulting in headache and nausea.

Ozone is thermodynamically unstable with respect to oxygen since its decomposition into oxygen results in the liberation of heat ( ΔH is negative) and an increase in entropy (ΔS is positive). These two effects reinforce each other, resulting in large negative Gibbs energy change( ΔG) for its conversion into oxygen. It is not really surprising, therefore, high concentrations of ozone can be dangerously explosive.

Due to the ease with which it liberates atoms of nascent oxygen ($O_3 \rightarrow O_2 + O$), it acts as a powerful oxidising agent. For example, it oxidises lead sulphide to lead sulphate and iodide ions to iodine.
answered Feb 25, 2014

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