Chemistry

Chemistry of Hazardous Materials

Liquid oxygen is primarily used in hospitals and for propulsion purposes.
The hazardous aspect of liquid oxygen is derived from the fact that oxygen accelerates combustion. Although oxygen by itself is not flammable, it enhances burning processes. When liquid oxygen comes into contact with organic materials, it can easily trigger fires and explosions. this is the reason why spillage of liquid oxygen on asphalt pavement is potentially hazardous (Beeson &amp. Smith, 2007). Asphalt is an organic material and liquid oxygen is highly concentrated. Spilled liquid oxygen is absorbed by the asphalt material, making the pavement potentially prone to fire and/or explosion.
The ongoing activities on the asphalt pavement at the time of liquid oxygen spillage can raise or reduce the underlying hazards. Fumes of concentrated oxygen could be absorbed by the clothes passersby are wearing and any kind of spark or glowing material (burning cigarette) could trigger a fire. On the same note, vehicle impacts on asphalt-soaked in liquid oxygen could result in massive explosions, thereby destroying lives and properties (Beeson &amp. Smith, 2007). Area of spillage should be avoided until safety is restored.

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