Navy Diver-Southern Partnership Station

Bulky oxygen tanks and face masks may no longer be needed to breathe underwater, thanks to the creation of the “Aquaman Crystal.”

Professor Christine McKenzie of the University of Southern Denmark said that because the crystalline material is able to store oxygen at super high concentrations, it could be valuable for lung cancer patients who must carry heavy tanks and for cars using fuel cells that need a regulated oxygen supply.

“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.”

Just one spoon of the substance is enough to absorb all the oxygen in a room. The stored oxygen can be released again when and where it is needed.

“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 hemoglobin,” says McKenzie.

“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,” Christine McKenzie explains.

Once the oxygen has been absorbed you can keep it stored in the material until you want to release it. The oxygen can be released by gently heating the material or subjecting it to low oxygen pressures.

The key component of the new material is the element cobalt, which is bound in a specially designed organic molecule.

(READ more in the news release at Science Daily)

Story tip from Sarah – Photo by the US Navy 

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