Oxygen and its Compounds


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In today’s Chemistry class, We will be learning about Oxygen and its Compounds. We hope you enjoy the class!


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  • General Properties of Oxygen Family.
  • Electronic Structure and Bonding in Oxygen.
  • Preparation, Properties and Uses of Oxygen.
  • Oxides: Classification


Oxygen is the most abundant element on earth. It constitutes 21% by volume of atmospheric air.

Occurrence: It occurs as free elements in nature and in combined states.



Elements in group VI include Oxygen (O), Sulphur (S), Selenium (Se), Tellurium (Te), and Polonium (Po). Their properties are as follows:

  1. They are non-metals and exist as solids at room temperature except for oxygen
  2. They are electron acceptors and oxidizing in nature.
  3. They do not react with water in any form. But oxygen and sulphur combine directly with hydrogen to yield water and hydrogen sulphide respectively.



Oxygen has an atomic number of 8; hence its electronic configuration is 1s22s22p4. This shows that oxygen needs two electrons in order to attain an octet configuration.




The oxygen atom has six valence electrons and can acquire a stable octet configuration by:

  1. Accepting two electrons from electropositive elements like metals to form negative oxide ion, O2-. Example

Ca2+ +  O2- → CaO

  1. Entering into covalent bond formation with non-metals by covalently sharing two out of its six outer electrons. Example formation of carbon (IV) oxide molecule.


O      —-      C      —-     O

  1. Forming a covalent bond with itself.

O     —     O




  1. By the thermal decomposition of potassium trioxochlorate (V) in the presence of MnO2 as a catalyst

2KClO3(s)heat            2KCl2(s) +  3O2(g)



  1. By decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, H2O2 in the presence of MnO2 as a catalyst

2H2O2(aq)       heat        2H2O(l)  +  O2(g)

Hydrogen peroxide also reacts with acidified KMnO4 in the cold to produce oxygen

5H2O2(aq)   +  2KMnO4(aq)   +  3H2SO4(aq)                        K2SO4(aq) + 2MnSO4(aq)  +   8H2O(l)  +  502(g)


NOTE: If the gas is required dry, it is passed through anhydrous calcium chloride or concentrated tetraoxosulphate (VI) acid and collected over mercury.




  1. Electrolysis of water
  2. Fractional distillation of liquid air: This preparation involves two main processes:

A. Liquefaction of air

Air is first passed through caustic Soda, NaOH (aq) to remove CO2.  It is then subjected through a series of compressions, expansions and cooling until liquid air is obtained at -200oC.

B. Fractional distillation of liquid air

The liquid air is led to a fractional distillation column.  On distillation, nitrogen with a lower boiling point of -1960C is evolved first, leaving behind liquid oxygen.  Further heating converts the liquid oxygen to gas at -1830C



  1. Explain the laboratory preparation of oxygen
  2. By what process is oxygen obtained from air



  1. It is a colourless , odourless and tasteless diatomic gas
  2. It is neutral to litmus
  3. It is slightly soluble in water
  4. Gaseous oxygen is denser than air
  5. Gaseous oxygen liquefies at -1830C



  1.  Reaction with metals: Oxygen combines directly with most metals to form basic oxides

2Ca    +          O2                   2CaO

4K        +          O2                   K2O

The oxides of very electropositive metals, K, Na, Ca dissolves in water to form alkalis

2 K2O  +          2 H2O             4KOH

  1. Reaction with non-metals: Non-metals burn in oxygen to acidic oxides. These are known as acid anhydrides as they dissolve in water to form acids.

S(s)       +          O2(g)               SO2(g)

SO2(g)  +          H2O(l)      H2SO3(aq)

P4(s)       +        O2(g)               P4O6(g)

P4O6      +        H2O(l)  4H3PO3(aq)

  1. Most hydrocarbon and compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen burn in oxygen to give CO2 and H2O

C2H5OH(l)   +  3O4(g)                        2CO2(g)          +   3H2O(l)



  1. It is used in oxy-ethylene flame
  2. It is required for respiration
  3. It is used in the steel industry for the removal of C, S and P impurities from pig iron
  4. Liquid oxygen and fuel are used as a propellant for space rockets
  5. Oxygen is used in the manufacturer of tetraoxosulphate (VI), trioxonitrate (VI) acid and ethanoic acid.



When a glowing splinter is inserted into a gas jar containing an unknown gas and the glowing splinter is rekindled, then the gas is likely oxygen gas or dinitrogen (I) oxide gas.

If the gas is colourless and reacts with nitrogen (II) oxide to produce reddish-brown fumes of nitrogen (IV) oxide, then the gas is confirmed to be oxygen gas.


  1. State two physical properties of oxygen
  2. Using equation only, state two chemical properties of oxygen



Oxides are binary compounds formed when oxygen combines with other elements

Types of oxides (classification)

  1. Basic Oxides: These are oxides of metals e.g. Na2O, K2O, MgO, CaO etc. They react with acids to form salt and water only. Example

Na2O(s)         +          2HCl(aq)                                  2NaCl(s)         + H2O(l)

  1. Acidic Oxides: These are oxides of non-metals which dissolves in water to form acids e.g. CO2, SO2, NO2 etc. They react with alkali to form a salt and water only e.g.

CO2(g) +   2NaOH(aq)                Na2CO3(aq)   + H2O(l)

3. Amphoteric Oxides: These are oxides of metals which can react with both acids and alkalis to form salt and water only. They include the oxides of Al, Zn, Pb and Sn. Example

ZnO(s)    +   H2SO4                ZnSO4(aq)  +     H2O(l)

ZnO(s)    +    2NaOH(aq)    +  H2O             Na2Zn(OH)4(aq)

  1. Neutral Oxides: These are oxides of non-metals which are neither acidic nor basic. They are neutral to litmus.  They include CO2H2O and N2O
  2. Peroxides: These are oxides which contain a higher proportion of oxygen than ordinary oxides e.g Na2O2, CaO2 and BaO2. They react with dilute acid to produce hydrogen peroxide, H2O2



  1. Mention four air pollutants and state their effects
  2. State two air pollution control measures
  3. Mention four types of oxides and give two examples each.
  4. Describe the electrolysis CuSO4(aq) using platinum electrodes
  5. Using equations only, state the products of the electrolysis of brine



New School Chemistry for Senior Secondary School by O.Y. Ababio (6th edition) pages 368-373


SECTION A: Write the correct option ONLY

  1. The most abundant element on earth is a. nitrogen b. helium c. silicon d. oxygen
  2. Determination of the proportion of oxygen in air can be done by passing a given volume of air through A. lime water B. alkaline pyrogallol solution C. FeSO4 solution D. concentrated H2SO4
  3. Which one of the following is an amphoteric oxide? a. SiO2 b. Al2O3 c. CuO d. K2O
  4. Most acid anhydrides react with water to form acids. Which of these is a mixed anhydride? a. N2O b. NO c. NO2 d. SO2
  5. A gas which is neutral to litmus and rekindles a glowing splinter is  A. O2   B. O3   C. H2O2    D. H2



  1. Using diagram ONLY, describe the preparation of dry oxygen gas in the laboratory
  2. Why is oxygen collected over mercury?





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In our next class, we will be learning about Chlorine and Other Halogens. We are very much eager to meet you there.


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