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I would like to know if there is a possibility to decompose plagioclase to obtain oxygen gas to be used in a combustion reaction?

I know that oxygen represents $47\%$ of the weight of 1 mole of plagioclase (albite $\ce{NaAlSi3O8}$ – anorthite $\ce{CaAl2Si2O8}$), which equals to $\pu{130 g}$ out of $\pu{277 g}$, so it will be very nice if I could decompose plagioclase and obtain oxygen gas, but I don't know if that is possible or not?

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you have any reason for thinking this is a possibility? If not, you might as well ask the same question about anything with oxygen in it. Oxygen makes up a significant portion of glass, but that doesn't mean it's going to be easy to get to elemental oxygen. Have you heard of this material being used to form molecular oxygen? $\endgroup$ – SendersReagent Apr 7 '16 at 4:46
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    $\begingroup$ Why, it is possible all right, but would require quite a lot of other reagents, and energy too. It would be about as economically feasible as buying new iPhones to pluck out the glass and throw away the rest, instead of buying a new window pane. Even if you have these reagents and energy, it would be better to put plagioclase aside and get the oxygen from elsewhere. Unless you are stranded on some desolate remote planet, that is. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Apr 7 '16 at 7:41
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it is possible, and NASA is contemplating extracting oxygen from local resources on the moon: books.google.com/…, science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2006/… and science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2006/…. $\endgroup$ – DrMoishe Pippik Apr 7 '16 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ I would try with a solar furnace. $\endgroup$ – julien Apr 16 '16 at 16:56
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Yes, I collect oxygen isotope data from plagioclase using the laser flourination method. To liberate the oxygen from the plagioclase, crystals are reacted with purified $\ce{BrF5}$. Then the plagioclase is hit with a $\ce{CO2}$ laser. Gasses are sent through a couple of cryogenic (liquid nitrogen) traps to filter, and then through a mercury diffusion pump to remove that nasty flourine.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's cool (pun intended)! Not exactly what OP would hope, I guess, but still. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jun 8 '17 at 22:18

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