Divers and swimmers everywhere, rejoice! Scientists at the University of Southern Denmark, in cooperation with the University of Sydney in Australia, have developed an oxygen-absorbing crystal they they are called the Aquaman Crystal. The material is able to bind and store oxygen in high concentrations. The oxygen is then released when needed… allowing humans to breathe underwater!
About 10 liters of these crystal grains is enough to pull the oxygen out of a room.
“This could be valuable for lung patients who today must carry heavy oxygen tanks with them. But also divers may one day be able to leave the oxygen tanks at home and instead get oxygen from this material as it “filters” and concentrates oxygen from surrounding air or water. A few grains contain enough oxygen for one breath, and as the material can absorb oxygen from the water around the diver and supply the diver with it, the diver will not need to bring more than these few grains,” McKenzie said.
The crystals can contain several times as much oxygen as the average tank.
“An important aspect of this new material is that it does not react irreversibly with oxygen – even though it absorbs oxygen in a so-called selective chemisorptive process. The material is both a sensor, and a container for oxygen – we can use it to bind, store and transport oxygen – like a solid artificial haemoglobin. It is also interesting that the material can absorb and release oxygen many times without losing the ability. It is like dipping a sponge in water, squeezing the water out of it and repeating the process over and over again,” she added.
This incredible new material is made from the element cobalt, bound in an organic molecule. “Cobalt gives the new material precisely the molecular and electronic structure that enables it to absorb oxygen from its surroundings. Small amounts of metals are essential for the absorption of oxygen, so actually it is not entirely surprising to see this effect in our new material,” she explained.
Pretty amazing invention, isn’t it?
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