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Live Out Your Aquaman Fantasies With a New Compound That Filters Oxygen From Water

This is an important advancement in mermaid science.


There’s a new compound that will let us breathe underwater and in space! Well, really, we already had a chemical compound that let us breathe in those places. That would be O₂, diatomic oxygen or oxygen gas, which humans shove into pressurized canisters and lug into space or anywhere else that we need breathable air. But now, scientists have found a chemical compound capable of filtering, storing, and releasing high volumes of oxygen, and it’s much less dangerous than potentially explosive tanks—probably.

Lots of compounds react with oxygen, but usually, the best-case scenario when that happens is some brown guacamole, and the worst is a giant fireball, so this new stuff is pretty impressive. The new compound is a cobalt-based mixture of chemicals that mimics the properties of the hemoglobin in our blood by sucking in the oxygen around it, but what’s really great is that it can also be made to expel that oxygen with a little bit of heat or a vacuum.

The University of Southern Denmark researchers who discovered the compound are currently investigating the other methods, like flashes of light, that they could use to coax oxygen back out of the hungry substance, which they say can absorb all of the oxygen in a room with just a tablespoon’s worth. It also takes in the oxygen at different rates depending on how the chemical compound is tweaked, which explains how the researchers all still conscious.

Their research was published in the journal Chemical Science and has really promising implications for exploring all the interesting places like space and the deep ocean, which tend to be low in oxygen. As researcher Christine McKenzie explained to Science Daily:

This could be valuable for lung patients who today must carry heavy oxygen tanks with them. 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.

So don’t worry about being a “no-powered c-list loser hero”; we’re all going to be Aquaman! Let’s celebrate with Aquaman’s rousing song of heroism!

(via UPROXX)

Previously in breathing science

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.