What Is Ozone?
Ozone is the second most powerful sterilant in the world and can be used to destroy bacteria, viruses, and odors. More and more people are using ozone in their homes to rid the property of smells such as animal urine, mold, strong foods, and most of all cigarette smoke.
In essence ozone is nothing more than oxygen (O2), with an extra oxygen atom. In nature ozone is produced by some chemical reactions. The most familiar example is of course the ozone layer, where ozone is produced from the sun’s ultra-violet (UV) rays. But ozone is also produced by thunderstorms and waterfalls.
The extreme high voltages produced within thunderstorms also produce ozone from oxygen. The special “fresh, clean, spring rain” smell is from nature-produced ozone.
How Does Ozone Work?
Ozone can oxidize all kinds of materials, but also will completely eliminate odour and
microorganisms like viruses, molds and bacteria. Ozone is one of the strongest oxidation agents available for use. The extra-added oxygen atom will bind (oxidize) in a split second to every component that comes into contact with it.
Ozone can be used for a broad array of purification applications. For the most part, ozone is applied in municipal wastewater and potable water treatment plants (for disinfection). However ozone is used more and more in the industrial branch. In the food industry for example ozone is used for disinfection and in the paper and textile industry it is used for the oxidation of wastewater.
The main benefit of ozone is its clean character. That is, it creates almost no by-products. Because ozone has a strong recognizable odor, very low concentrations will soon be perceived. This makes it generally safe to work with ozone.
How Is Ozone Produced?
Ozone can be produced artificially according the same principle as it occurs in nature, which means by either UV light (ozone layer) or via corona-discharge (high voltages, lightning). In both methods the bonds between the oxygen molecules are broken apart. Consequently an oxygen radical is produced, which will, in turn, bind with the another oxygen molecule to form O3 (ozone).