Research Paper on OzoneIntroduction
The Ozone gas is one of the essential elements that constitute a part of the atmosphere of the Earth. Traditionally, this gas was viewed as one of the natural constituents of the atmosphere that cannot be applied in daily life of humans, until the moment when its real potential was discovered. In fact, in the contemporary world the Ozone gas is a very important element that produces a profound impact on the daily life of people, even though often they are not conscious of the fact that the Ozone is used. In this respect, it should be pointed out that there are a lot of possible applications of the Ozone in the contemporary world which are not known to the mass public along with traditional areas where the Ozone has been employed for a considerable period of time and where it has already proved its high efficiency. This is why it is very important to discuss in details the properties of this gas, reveal its essence and define the major areas where it can be used in daily life. This is really important because potentially the Ozone gas may be very effectively applied in different fields, but, at the same time, it is necessary to remember about its major function as a part of the atmosphere since the Ozone layer fulfills a very important protective function. In such a situation, it is necessary to analyze the possible uses of the Ozone, taking into consideration the risk of the gradual decrease of the presence of this gas in the atmosphere of the planet.
The Ozone gas
First of all, it should be said that the Ozone gas is a relatively rare element that is basically concentrated in the stratospheric layer of the atmosphere of the Earth. To put it more precisely about 90% of the Ozone gas is concentrated in the stratosphere (Razumovskii & Zaikov, 1984). This means that in the nature the presence of the Ozone gas is quite rare and, what is more important, there is a threat of the Ozone depletion. At the same time, people possess knowledge about the structure of the Ozone that may be very helpful in the solution of the problem of the lack of the Ozone in the nature. In this respect, it should be said that each molecule of the Ozone gas contains three atoms of oxygen. The Ozone gas is primarily found in two layers of the atmosphere. As it has been already mentioned above 90% of the Ozone gas is concentrated into the stratosphere, while the rest of the Ozone is in the troposphere, the region closest to the Earth. It is worth mentioning that the word “ozone” originates from the Greek word designating “to smell”. In fact, such a name of the gas is not occasional because the Ozone has a pungent odor that allows the Ozone to be detected even in low amounts. The Ozone gas will rapidly react with many chemical compounds and is explosive in concentrated amounts. Electrical discharges are usually used to make the Ozone gas for industrial processes, including air and water purification and bleaching of textiles and food products.
It should be pointed out that in nature the Ozone molecules have a very low abundance. This is why it is possible to estimate that it is a relatively rare gas. In this respect, it should be said that even in the stratosphere near the peak of the Ozone layer, there are only up to 12,000 molecules of the Ozone for every billion air molecules. Most air molecules are either oxygen (O2) or nitrogen (N2) molecules. In the troposphere near Earth’s surface, ozone is even less abundant, with a typical range of 20 to 100 ozone molecules for each billion air molecules. The highest surface values are a result of ozone formed in air polluted by human activities. As an illustration of the low relative abundance of ozone in our atmosphere, one can consider bringing all the ozone molecules in the troposphere and stratosphere down to Earth’s surface and uniformly distributing these molecules into a gas layer over the globe. The resulting layer of pure ozone would have a thickness of less than one half centimeter (Razumovskii & Zaikov, 1984).
Furthermore, it should be said that the Ozone is produced when the oxygen molecules are dissociated by an energy source into oxygen atoms and subsequently collide with an oxygen molecule to form an unstable gas, Ozone. In such a way, it is possible to create the Ozone gas using oxygen and often the Ozone gas is artificially created and used in different areas. To put it more precisely, the Ozone gas may be generated by imposing a high voltage alternating current across a dielectric discharge gap that contains an oxygen-bearing gas. The Ozone is generated outside because it is unstable and decomposes to elemental oxygen in a short amount of time after generation.
In such a way, it is obvious that, in spite of the scarcity of the Ozone gas in nature, it is possible to generating this gas artificially on the basis of the use of oxygen that may compensate the lack of the Ozone in natural environment. At the same time, it should be said that the sophisticated methods of the artificial generation of the Ozone gas were not developed for purely experimental goals. In stark contrast, they were developed to make the Ozone gas available to the further implementation in different fields since scientists find new possibilities for the application of the Ozone in different fields.
At the same time, it should be said that the Ozone may play a very important role not only in different fields where it is currently applied but it also plays an extremely important role in the atmosphere of the Earth. It should be said that the Ozone originally targets at the protection of the planet from the harmful ultraviolet radiation. In fact, it should be pointed out that as a gas, the Ozone is highly mobile and can dilute into the air, flow over surfaces and seep into fabrics and crevices. The Ozone gas is unique because it seeks and destroys organic molecules that form much of the indoor pollutants and its high penetrability contributes to the wide use of this gas in the purification and disinfection processes. Whether pollutants are formed by chemical or organic sources, the Ozone gas rapidly oxidizes them by first reverting itself into oxygen and then depositing the third oxygen atom on the offending pollutant. This is the major principle of the functioning of the Ozone gas and this function of the gas is amply used in purification and disinfection processes in different fields. It is important to clearly understand the mechanism how the Ozone gas actually works in order to better understand that this gas is not harmful for the environment and, therefore, can be safely used in different industries and fields of its possible application. At the same time, the instability of the Ozone gas can create certain difficulties in its production and application, though the contemporary technologies provide ample opportunities to generate and store the Ozone gas without any risk to people and their environment.
The use of the Ozone for water disinfection
Speaking about the possible fields of the use of the Ozone gas, it is primarily possible to mention the use of the Ozone for the water purification. However, it should be said that along with the traditional and well-known use of the Ozone to disinfect and purify water used in pools, for instance, it is also possible to apply the Ozone gas in a different way, which though is not widely spread and it is not well-know to the mass public. What is meant here is the use of the Ozone for the purification of the waste water.
At the beginning, it is necessary to briefly dwell upon the traditional application of the Ozone gas for water disinfection and purification. It should be pointed out that the Ozone is considered to be quite an effective element that can disinfect the water and provide the high quality of the water. This is why it is widely applied to the disinfection of water as an alternative to chlorine. It should be said that, unlike chlorine, which is traditionally used for the disinfection of water, the Ozone does not have any dangerous side-effects. To put it more precisely, after the use of the chlorine some dangerous elements may be formed that can represent a serious threat to the health of people, while the Ozone does not have any of such negative effects that can produce a negative impact on the human health , though the extent to which the Ozone can produce a long lasting effect is argued by specialists (Crites & Tchobanoglous, 1998) since some specialists state on the ground that the Ozone can hardly be used for the disinfection of water because its effectiveness cannot be maintained for a very long period of time and, therefore, cannot provide the absolute guarantee of the safety of water. On the other hand, other specialists (Ikonomidis et al 2005) argue that the Ozone could be used effectively, if it is used in the sufficient amount and regularly to the extent that its disinfection effect did not cease.
At the same time, nowadays specialists point out that the Ozone gas may be also used effectively for the purification of the waste water (Crites & Tchobanoglous, 1998). It should be pointed out that such an application of the Ozone gas is argued because of the perspectives and effects of the use of the Ozone in the purification of the waste water. In fact, one of the major arguments against the use of the Ozone in the purification of the waste water is its inability to resist to the appearance of the dangerous elements into the water after the disinfection, i.e. when the effect of the Ozone gas is actually over (Razumovskii & Zaikov, 1984). Hence, the use of the Ozone gas may be viewed as unwise. In addition, it should be said that the necessity of the purification of the waste water, especially with the use of such sophisticated and relatively expansive methods as the use of the Ozone gas, is argued. In other words, some specialists (Crites & Tchobanoglous, 1998) estimate that the purification of waste water is not essential. At any rate, it is considered to be unnecessary to purify the waste water consistently since there are natural systems of filtration and it is possible to presuppose that the basic purification of the waste water with the use of conventional means may be sufficient to make the waste water secure and environmentally friendly.
However, it is possible to argue that such an approach is erroneous and that the Ozone gas purification may be not only useful but simply essential. In this respect, it should be said that the modern world use the water excessively that is absolutely unacceptable, taking into consideration the fact that water resources of the planet are limited consistently and they cannot fully satisfy the needs of the population of the Earth. In such a situation, the water becomes a very valuable source. On the other hand, it is not a secret that the water is amply used in various industries and potentially hazardous productions. This means that the water taken from the nature becomes extremely polluted and, therefore, the waste water cannot be returned to the nature being polluted by various chemicals and hazardous elements. Moreover, the contemporary industries as well as the contemporary households can pollute the water with elements which cannot always be eliminated by means of the natural systems of filtration. Even the use of the conventional means of the purification and filtration of the waste water is not always really effective when these means are applied to very hazardous materials that can be found in abundance in the contemporary industrial production (Razumovskii & Zaikov, 1984). In such a situation, it is obvious that the use of the conventional means solely cannot make the waste water really safe and environmentally friendly. In contrast, it can deteriorate the quality of water that will be further consumed by people and used in the industrial production as well as agriculture. As a result, the use of the Ozone gas becomes not only possible but simply essential because the Ozone can destroy the hazardous materials making the waste water much safer compared to the use of the conventional means of the purification. This is why the application of the Ozone gas in the purification of the waste water may be considered to be very perspective, though, at the present moment, this method of the purification of the waste water is not widely spread, but, taking into consideration the fact that the level of the pollution of the water increases constantly, it would be logical to presuppose that in the future this methods will be widely spread, naturally, on the condition that the production of the Ozone gas could cover the needs of the contemporary world in the purification of the waste water. At the same time, it is necessary to remember that the effective purification of the waste water can increase substantially the safety of the water at large and improve the environmental situation because the waste water will naturally be recycled and then taken by people from the nature either for drinking or the industrial production. In such a context, the safer waste water may also potentially decrease the costs of the purification and filtration of the water consumed by people in their everyday life.
The use of the Ozone for air purification and deodorization
The fact that the Ozone gas can be used effectively for the purification is well known. It should be said that this gas has traditionally been implemented to purification of water, but, in recent years, it has been started to use for the purification and deodorization of the air. In this respect, it is necessary to underline that the Ozone gas may be a very effective instrument to make the air pure and really safe because this gas can destroy the major dangerous elements and bacteria that flow freely in the air threatening to the health and even life of ordinary people in their regular life. It should be said that the Ozone is a very strong oxidant and virucide.
Basically, the mechanism of purification with the help of the Ozone includes several major points which may be presented as follows (Ikonomidis et al, 2005): direct oxidation or destruction of the cell wall with leakage of the cellular constituents outside of the cell; reactions with radical by-products of ozone decomposition; damage to constituents of the nucleic acids; and, finally, the breakage of carbon-nitrogen bonds leading to depolymerization. In such a way, the Ozone gas may destruct the major hazardous elements, including very dangerous bacteria that may be found in the air.
Obviously, the potential of the use of the Ozone gas to purify the air may be very perspective, but, at the present moment, this method of the purification is not really widely spread. In this respect, it should be pointed out that, in spite of the relatively insignificant use of the Ozone for the air purification, it was and still is used in many hotels for the purification of air. For the same purpose the Ozone is widely used in hospitals where this methods is considered to be very effective because of its safety and, what is more important, it does not have any side-effects that can threaten to the health of patients.
On the other hand, the Ozone gas may be also effectively used for the purification of households, but in the contemporary world this method is use quite rarely. In fact, the purification of households with the help of the Ozone gas may contribute to the consistent improvement of the indoor atmosphere, securing people living in houses from the risk of catching some disease that can be spread by air. The Ozone can easily destroy the major elements and bacteria that threaten to human health. At the same time, it should be said that this method of purification may be very effective, especially in areas where the industrial production is concentrated or where the level of traffic is very high. In such a situation, the Ozone is practically essential because, at the moment, it is the major means to make the air clear and safe for human health.
Also, it is possible to remind about the deodorization potential of the Ozone gas that naturally accompanies its purification effect on the air indoors. It should be pointed out that the initial use of the Ozone in hotels basically targeted at the deodorization of the air, while its purification effect was secondary. At the same time, due to such a combination of the purification and deodorization effects of the Ozone gas, this gas is really unique and can hardly be substituted by any other substance or gas that could produce the same or, at least, similar effects. This is why it is possible to estimate that the potential of the Ozone gas as a major tool of purification and deodorization of household is currently not widely used and, what is more, this methods is rather exceptional than traditional in the contemporary households. Such a situation is quite illogical because, at the present moment, the need in pure air increases consistently as the air grows more and more polluted. Obviously, the current level of the pollution of the air and the decreasing natural level of the Ozone gas in the atmosphere makes the application of this gas in households very important and perspective due its positive effects and due to the lack of adequate alternatives to the Ozone gas that could purify and simultaneously deodorize the air as effectively as the Ozone.
The use of the Ozone for food disinfection
Another perspective field of the use of the Ozone is the food disinfection. In this respect, it should be said that the potential of the Ozone gas as an effective tool of the disinfection may be very significant. It should be pointed out that the contemporary food is characterized by the use of different chemical elements and non-organic materials that can expose human beings to additional threats of getting some health problems. On the other hand, there remains the risk from the part of various bacteria which also proliferate without the application of the effective tools of disinfection.
On analyzing the potential of the Ozone gas for the food disinfection, it is necessary to underline that this gas may be very effective because of the lack of dangerous side-effects or negative impact on human health. In the current situation, the use of such effective tools of the disinfection is very important because the contemporary food industry needs to provide a large amount of people with food that leads to the situation, when the food has to be stored for a considerable period of time being exposed to the negative impact of the environment which can naturally spoil the food products. In such a situation, many companies producing food are simply forced to use various chemical elements, which are unnatural and may be potentially dangerous to human health evoking some health problems, like allergy, for instance. In this respect, the use of the Ozone may be a perfect alternative to such artificial elements which are used to make the food safe for human health. In fact, due to its power to destroy dangerous bacteria and elements, the Ozone gas can be applied in food industry to supply products to people in their original and safe condition making them free of dangerous bacteria and elements. At the same time, this use of the Ozone gas also implies that the gas should be widely applied that is not always possible because of its relative scarcity and necessity of the artificial generation. Nevertheless, the potential effects of the Ozone applied to food disinfection can outweigh costs of its generation and further application in the food production and distribution since it can make the food safe to human health and, what is more important and what is the unique characteristic of the Ozone gas, unlike many other elements used for the same purposes in the food industry, this gas does not produce a negative impact on human health.
The use of the Ozone in medicine
In this respect, it is worth mentioning the fact that the Ozone gas may be also used in the medicine. In fact, the Ozone gas is used in hospitals for the purification of the air indoors and this way of the use of the gas is not new. However, it is possible to speak about the potential of the Ozone in the treatment of patients from various illnesses. At the same time, it should be said that the Ozone therapy is used as an alternative to the conventional medicine. It is necessary to underline that the positive effects of the Ozone in the treatment of various diseases have not been fully researched. This is why this treatment with the use of the Ozone is not always supported by the conventional medicine. For instance, in the US the use of the Ozone in the treatment of diseases is banned basically because of the lack of information about the possible effects of such therapy and apprehensions of some specialists about the possible negative effects of the use of the Ozone in the treatment of patients (Ikonomidis et al, 2005). Nevertheless, the supporters of the Ozone therapy argue that it may be a good alternative to conventional medicine due to its ability to detoxify and kill infectious disease causing bacteria, mycoplasmas and virus organisms (Marchetti, 2000). Basically, the potential use of the Ozone therapy includes autohemotherapy, auricular insufflations, colonics, ozonated steam, ozonated water, and other treatments. However, it is necessary to remember that these treatments are just the potential areas of the application of the Ozone gas, but, at the moment, the conventional medicine has certain apprehensions concerning the wide use of the Ozone therapy.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the potential of the use of the Ozone gas is very large and this element may be used in different areas to purify and disinfect air, water, food, and even in health care services. However, in the result of scarcity of the Ozone in nature and the lack of knowledge of people about the effects of this gas, the Ozone is not widely used in the modern world even in the areas where it could bring numerous positive effects such as purification and deodorization of the air in households.
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