Breathing underwater unaided is no longer just a dream within the realm of science fiction and comic books. Scientists in Denmark have developed a crystalline substance so powerful that a bucketful can bind and absorb all the oxygen in a room, a technology that will eventually allow humans to breathe underwater without the help of oxygen tanks or other bulky breathing equipment.
The stored oxygen – which can be absorbed from air or water – can then be released when and where its needed by putting it under a small amount of heat.
Being able to breathe underwater has long been a fascination for mankind, but the bulky oxygen tanks and face masks take some of the romance out of it.
They could soon no longer be needed however, thanks to the creation of what is now being dubbed the “Aquaman Crystal”. The material is able to store the gas at a much higher concentration than oxygen tanks, meaning it would be far smaller and lighter to carry, and can slowly release oxygen when put under a small amount of heat.
Professor Christine McKenzie said the crystal could be valuable for lung cancer patients who must carry heavy tanks around 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.”
At the moment, large-scale production of this crystal is difficult due to its highly complicated chemical formula but hopes are high regarding its potential as an alternative to oxygen tanks.