If you’ve dreamed of being able to hang out underwater without the tether of an oxygen tank, get ready for your dream to become reality. Scientists have created a crystalline material that can actually pull oxygen out of the surrounding environment, and it could mean no more oxygen tanks – underwater or on dry land. The material is made from cobalt and it can pull and release oxygen without the need for bulky storage tanks.
Just a few grains of the material are all that is needed to store enough oxygen for a breath, so toting around the material would be easy and light – light enough that swimmers could go for an extended dive without being weighed down and lung patients who require oxygen could leave the oxygen tank at home. Some are calling the material the ‘Aquaman crystal’ given that it seems to almost imbue an individual with superhero-like capabilities.
According to the research, the compound is so good at sucking up oxygen that just one spoonful could actually suck up all of the oxygen in a room. Even more important, the material can hold that oxygen until you want to release it. “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,” says Christine McKenzie, one of the researchers involved in the project.