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May 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 32, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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More Snake Oil?

from the May, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Scientists at the University of Southern Denmark say they have created a material that can store oxygen in high concentrations and release it when needed. They say a bucket-full is enough to soak up the entire oxygen content of an average-sized room. Dubbed "the Aquaman Crystal," the material, which contains cobalt, is able to absorb and release oxygen many times over without losing that ability.

Professor Christine McKensie explains that once it has absorbed the oxygen, that gas can be released simply by applying heat or low pressure, and they've also seen it do the same when a vacuum is applied. "We are now wondering if light can be used to trigger the material to release oxygen," she says. "A few grains contain enough oxygen for one breath, and it can absorb oxygen from the water around it. A diver would not need to carry more than a few grains."

Could this be the scientific advance that replaces tanks of compressed air? Not in our lifetimes, one would wager.

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