You may have heard of an ozone generator, but you may not be familiar with how it operates. An ozone generator, also known as an ozone machine, is a device that transforms oxygen from a variety of sources into ozone, including ambient air, dry air, and concentrated oxygen. Ozonator create ozone (O3) by injecting energy into oxygen molecules (O2), causing the oxygen atoms to split and reunite with other oxygen molecules. The ozone is then utilized to cleanse water and purify the air. Ozone generators range in size from small hand-held devices to large-scale industrial machines capable of producing hundreds of grams of ozone per hour. Industrial ozone generators operate similarly to ambient air units, with the exception that they require extremely clean and dry air or oxygen, as well as a corona cell specifically built to generate extremely high ozone concentrations.

The air that passes through ozone producers is charged electrically. This breaks up some regular oxygen atoms into single, unstable atoms, which then link with other oxygen molecules to generate ozone. (Note that the image is not to scale.)

Through a process known as oxidation, ozone reacts with a pollutant, bacteria, virus, or mold and breaks it down into less complex (and often less hazardous) molecules. Over time, ozone that has not reacted with other molecules decomposes into oxygen. Ozonation eliminates odors while also disinfecting the air, water, and other materials. It’s even been approved for use on food by the USDA and FDA.

Although many manufacturers promise that ozone would render practically any contamination harmless, it is critical to follow safety rules, understand the structure of the contaminants, and have an ozone specialist size the ozone generator unit properly.

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