Scientists Find a New Way to Store Oxygen

Using Aquaman crystals, people will be able to remain underwater for extended periods without using tanks. (Screenshot/YouTube)
Using Aquaman crystals, people will be able to remain underwater for extended periods without using tanks. (Screenshot/YouTube)

A lot of people enjoy scuba diving around the world. Imagine if you didn’t need air tanks and you could stay underwater for longer periods.

Well, researchers have found a new material that can gather the oxygen from the water around you.

Just one bucketful of this crystalline material that scientists created can pull the oxygen out of a room, and then release the oxygen wherever it is needed. It’s being called the Aquaman Crystal, and it offers a range of applications.

Scuba Training   Image: CC0 Public Domain

Scuba diving raining. (Image: CC0 Public Domain)

“This could be valuable for lung patients who today must carry heavy oxygen tanks with them,” said Professor Christine McKenzie of the University of Southern Denmark, in a statement. “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.”

Watch this video about Aquaman Crystals.

Aquaman Crystals use the element cobalt, wrapped in an organic molecule. “Cobalt gives the new material precisely the molecular and electronic structure that enables it to absorb oxygen from its surroundings,” McKenzie said. “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 said

Oxygen tanks Image: FEMA Photo Library.

Oxygen tanks. (Image: FEMA Photo Library)

The material absorbs the oxygen like a sponge. By exposing it to a low oxygen pressure, or by using a small amount of heat, you can release the oxygen. Researchers are investigating whether they can trigger the release using light. “When the substance is saturated with oxygen, it can be compared to an oxygen tank containing pure oxygen under pressure—the difference is that this material can hold three times as much oxygen,” McKenzie said.

There would a lot of people interested in this technology—from scuba divers to NASA to the medical profession.

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