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Science & Technology

Crystals could enable underwater breathing

By T.K. Randall
October 3, 2014 · Comment icon 28 comments

Could crystals replace conventional diving gear ? Image Credit: US Navy/Christopher Perez
A remarkable new type of crystal is capable of absorbing all the oxygen from the air or water around it.
Developed by scientists at the University of Southern Denmark, the cobalt-derived salt crystal is able to absorb oxygen at a rate of up to 160 times the concentration of the air that we breathe.

If the crystal is then heated up or placed within a low-oxygen environment it will even release the oxygen that it has stored up, providing a quick and efficient way of making an area breathable. Such a function could be particularly useful to astronauts.
Another possible use could be as a grenade-type weapon to use against terrorists. A crystal-based 'oxygen bomb' could be thrown in to a room where it would activate and suck up all the oxygen, incapacitating the hostiles by rendering them unable to breath.

Perhaps the most enticing application of all however would be to use the crystals in an underwater rebreathing device. Instead of carrying hefty oxygen tanks a diver may simply be able to use a mouthpiece equipped with some of the crystals which would absorb oxygen from the surrounding water and then release it so that the diver could breathe.

Such a mechanism could potentially enable a diver to breathe underwater indefinitely.

Source: Geek.com | Comments (28)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #19 Posted by spartan max2 10 years ago
any targets an easy target when its unconscious, but would the army work like that? sounds like more work than is neccasary?.. dropping or throwing a bomb to starve them of oxygen ,.. then more time/work killing them?? .. why drop 2 bombs when a stealthy precise first hit would do the job first time round If you want to clear out an area of people while keeping everything else intact. regular bombs would blow stuff up
Comment icon #20 Posted by Red Howler 10 years ago
I love crystals
Comment icon #21 Posted by alfonso 10 years ago
If you want to clear out an area of people while keeping everything else intact. regular bombs would blow stuff up like a said , then some-ones still gotta risk goin in and finishing them off before they wake back up .., twice as much work .. were talkin about terrorists here.. them and there belongings shouldn't be left intact
Comment icon #22 Posted by Parsec 10 years ago
Depending on how quick it could suck up oxygen and if it is in a enclosed space it could create extreme negative pressure, would be a mess to clean up. Interesting idea, but I'm not sure how negative pressure it would create, since oxygen composes only 21% of the air we breathe, so it's not so much. Someone can answer? like a said , then some-ones still gotta risk goin in and finishing them off before they wake back up .., twice as much work .. were talkin about terrorists here.. them and there belongings shouldn't be left intact Yeah, let's destroy all those Buddha statues!
Comment icon #23 Posted by spartan max2 10 years ago
like a said , then some-ones still gotta risk goin in and finishing them off before they wake back up .., twice as much work .. were talkin about terrorists here.. them and there belongings shouldn't be left intact I was just talking about war in general not terroist. Like if you want to take a nations factory or airport or something but you still want it into t to use. Then some sort of bomb like this could work
Comment icon #24 Posted by third_eye 10 years ago
Leave the crystals alone ...
Comment icon #25 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
I wonder of such a militarized grenade, or such, could be considered "chemical weapons in reverse"
Comment icon #26 Posted by Merc14 10 years ago
This stuff is far from ready for prime time and has only worked in the lab so all this is speculation but the bomb aspect of it is more applicable to shipboard fires IMHO. Toss a bomb in a burning space and suck out all teh O2.
Comment icon #27 Posted by taniwha 10 years ago
This stuff is far from ready for prime time and has only worked in the lab so all this is speculation but the bomb aspect of it is more applicable to shipboard fires IMHO. Toss a bomb in a burning space and suck out all teh O2. Good idea but heat is also one of the triggers that releases any stored up oxygen in a crystal so that might (or might not) fan the flames. Could water pumped through an oxygen-crystal filter remove all the oxygen leaving hydrogen as a fuel solution in a combustible engine?
Comment icon #28 Posted by Merc14 10 years ago
Good idea but heat is also one of the triggers that releases any stored up oxygen in a crystal so that might (or might not) fan the flames. Could water pumped through an oxygen-crystal filter remove all the oxygen leaving hydrogen as a fuel solution in a combustible engine? Good point. Good idea but heat is also one of the triggers that releases any stored up oxygen in a crystal so that might (or might not) fan the flames. Could water pumped through an oxygen-crystal filter remove all the oxygen leaving hydrogen as a fuel solution in a combustible engine? Very good catch and well done. An obvi... [More]


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