Ozone formation

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Rexx18
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#1
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#1
Let * represent the free-radical.

O2 + hv --> O* + O*

O2 + O* --> O3

How come there's a radical on the LHS but not one on the RHS? Is it something to do with the structure of ozone?
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MexicanKeith
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#2
Report 4 years ago
#2
(Original post by Rexx18)
Let * represent the free-radical.

O2 + hv --> O* + O*

O2 + O* --> O3

How come there's a radical on the LHS but not one on the RHS? Is it something to do with the structure of ozone?
The oxygen free radical O* is an excited electronic state of the oxygen atom. This means it has extra electronic energy.

When it recombines with O2 to form ozone this extra electronic energy can be converted into extra vibrational energy in the ozone.

The ozone can then lose the vibrational energy by colliding with another molecule (eg N2 in the atmosphere, this is often given the symbol "M" which just refers to a generic third molecule)

so the step could be written in the following ways

O2 + O* ---> O3

OR

O2 + O* ----> O3*
O3* + M ---> O3 + M

OR

O2 + O* + M ---> O3 + M


so the reason a radical isn't present on the right hand side is simply because the ozone can lose the extra energy by colliding with a third molecule!
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