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Scientists Create Material That Could Allow Us to Breathe Underwater Without Oxygen Tanks

By Kira Heuer

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If you are a diver, pay attention to this post! Your dream are about to come true… Thanks to so-called Aquaman crystalcreated by scientists from the University of Southern Denmark the ability to breathe underwater without oxygen tanks is now possible. It is a crystalline material that can absorb oxygen from the environment and store it so that it can be later released when and where required. The material was synthesized by Professor Christine McKenzie and postdoc Jonas Sundberg, who used X-ray diffraction to study the arrangement of atoms in the material when it was filled with oxygen, as well as when it was emptied. The “Aquaman crystal” owes much of its ability to absorb oxygen from the environment to cobalt, which is the main component of the new material that determines its molecular and electronic structure. According to the researchers, 10 liters of this material are sufficient to absorb all of the oxygen in a room, while one of its most amazing features is the ability to absorb and release oxygen several times without losing its properties. “It is like dipping a sponge in water, squeezing the water out of it and repeating the process over and over again,” notes McKenzie. Thus, instead of using bulky oxygen tanks, a diver would only need a small amount of the “Aquaman crystal” to be able to breathe underwater. “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,” explains prof McKenzie. As for possible uses for the new material beyond diving, it could also contribute to the treatment of respiratory illnesses and help lung patients who need oxygen tanks to breathe properly.

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