I am studying chemistry from the book titled "Fundamental Chemistry for Cambridge O Level" written by Rosemarie Gallagher and Paul Ingram. On page 17, it states that

oxygen boils at −219 °C and freezes at −183 °C.

Isn't this incorrect? Should it not be the other way round?

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Yeah that looks like they have it mixed around. The boiling point will always be higher than the melting point measured at the same pressure. Wikipedia gives the same values, but in the correct order. $\endgroup$
    – Tyberius
    May 12, 2020 at 19:37
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ BTW, write (or have your instructor write) to the publisher, citing the error. You might get a "freebie" (e.g. a copy of the next edition, with corrections) and the satisfaction of being acknowledged, as well as performing a service for those who would otherwise have to "unlearn" the error. $\endgroup$ May 12, 2020 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ I tried to find some sort of errata for the book and couldn't. According to Amazon the paperback was published January 1, 2018 so it isn't an old book. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    May 12, 2020 at 23:49

1 Answer 1


According to NIST Chemistry Webbook, for oxygen:

$$T_\mathrm{boil} = \pu{90.2\pm0.2 K}$$ $$T_\mathrm{fus} = \pu{54.8\pm0.2 K}$$ $$T_\mathrm{triple} = \pu{54.33\pm0.6 K}$$

The $T_\mathrm{boil}$ and $T_\mathrm{fus}$ are from Ref.1 while Brower and Thodos reported $T_\mathrm{triple}$ as $\pu{54.363 K}$ at pressure of $\pu{1.125 mmHg}$ (Ref.2). The uncertainties were given by Thermodynamics Research Center, NIST Boulder Laboratories, CO.

Accordingly, $T_\mathrm{boil} = \pu{-183 ^\circ C}$, $T_\mathrm{fus} = \pu{-218.4 ^\circ C}$, and $T_\mathrm{triple} = \pu{-218.8 ^\circ C}$. Therefore, as you correctly suspected, the values in the textbook is a misprint.


  1. Alex G. Streng, “Miscibility and compatibility of some liquefied and solidified gases at low temperatures,” J. Chem. Eng. Data 1971, 16(3), 357-359 (https://doi.org/10.1021/je60050a024).
  2. Gerald T. Brower, George. Thodos, “Vapor pressures of liquid oxygen between the triple point and critical point,” J. Chem. Eng. Data 1968, 13(2), 262-264 (https://doi.org/10.1021/je60037a038).

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