Researchers in Denmark have created a new material that can store three times as much oxygen as a tank — and a teaspoon of the stuff can also absorb all the breathable air right out of a room.
Though that last thought it admittedly a little scary, scientists say the discovery might be able to replace bulky oxygen tanks with something much (much) smaller and easier to carry. From the sick and elderly who need help to breathe to underwater divers and future space explorers, Gizmodo notes this tech could have far-reaching implications.
Professor Christine McKenzie, who led the research team, had this to say while explaining the spongelike, cobalt-based material in a new report:
“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. When the substance is saturated with oxygen, it can be compared to an oxygen tank, containing pure oxygen under pressure. The difference is that this material can hold three times as much oxygen.”
Once you absorb a boatload of oxygen into the material, all you have to do is heat it up to start releasing it. So that’s a relatively simple mechanism to master. Plus, the tech is reusable, meaning you can fill and refill the material multiple times. Neato.