Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark have synthesized crystalline materials that can bind and store oxygen in high concentrations.The stored oxygen can be released again when and where it is needed.
Depending on the atmospheric oxygen content, temperature, or pressure, it takes seconds, minutes, hours, or days for the substance to absorb oxygen from its surroundings. Different versions of the substance can bind oxygen at different speeds.
With this complexity, it becomes possible to produce devices that release and/or absorb oxygen under different circumstances — for example, a mask containing layers of these materials in the correct sequence might actively supply a person with oxygen directly from the air without the help of pumps or high pressure equipment.
"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," said Christine McKenzie, professor at the University of Southern Denmark. "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."
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