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Liquid Oxygen?

Is there such thing as Liquid oxygen, and is it possible to breathe it without problems? i saw it on "The Abyss" and it intrigued me.

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Yes, there is liquid oxygen. The bad news for you is that it exists at ~-118 Degrees Celsius. So, it would be rather destructive to your lungs. Furthermore, Oxygen is toxic to biology at higher concentrations. (oxygen in air is ~20%). Liquid oxygen would be 100% and very toxic. How is it toxic? Well, have you ever heard of free radicals? Oxygen (O2) can form free radicals (O) that damage tissue. So, we have a love/hate relationship with Oxygen. We need it to power aerobic metabolism, but it also is damaging, particularly at higher concentrations. This is why no one dives with pure oxygen in their tanks, and why if you ever have a long hospital visit in which they are giving you oxygen, your throat becomes very raw and irritated.

    Now, what you saw in the "the abyss" is true, but it is not liquid oxygen. It is a fluorocarbon saturated with oxygen. I remember seeing rat experiments on a video once where they submerged a rat in this stuff and the thing tried to swim to the surface, but never drowned. I've heard that the big problem with this substance is that it strips the thin layer of special liquid that coats the inside of your lungs. This liquid prevents your internal lung structure from collapsing and provides a moist means for diffusing oxygen from air into your blood. So, if you take an animal out of the fluorocarbon, it would die after clearing the liquid from its lungs.

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  • 4 years ago

    Liquid oxygen is produced from the air by a process of compression, cooling and expansion until the air condenses at a temperature of -183°C (90 K). The liquid air is then distilled to produce liquid oxygen by separating it from the other components .. like nitrogen and the noble gases - these are also useful when separated. The gas in breathing tanks is generally just clean air and will not be in liquid form - too dangerous. It will be at a very high pressure as a gas. If liquid oxygen is stored in an industrial vessel, the vessel must be specially designed, similar to a vacuum flask and heavily insulated . The liquid can then be stored at just above atmospheric pressure under a pressure control system. Some losses will occur by 'boil-off' of gas but these will be vented to a flare system or back to the atmosphere. The boil off maintains the oxygen as a liquid at its boiling point at the controlled pressure.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Liquid oxygen exists at temperatures below -196 C through distillation of liquid air(Nitrogen, oxygen and some inert gases) at specific percentages.

    Liquid oxygen boils at -183 C, so ingestion would produce cryogenic burns which can cause serious harmful side effects when it comes into contact with tissues therefore breathing it as a liquid is not only impossible but dangerous.

    However Liquid oxygen is used as an oxidizer in rocket propellants.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The is such thing as liquid oxygen, just as there is liquid nitrogen, liquid chlorine, even liquid hydrogen.

    Liquid oxygen is made by cooling air to below the boiling point of oxygen. I don't recall the temperature off hand, but it is higher than liquid nitrogen. So in practice you could pass air through a coil of tubing submerged in liquid nitrogen. The liquid oxygen would condense out of the air and form inside the tubing.

    As far as breathing it, only if you want to crystalize your lungs. If memory serves, we are talking temperatures of -80C. Tissue does not do well at that temperature. In fact, the purpose of the nose and mouth in breathing is to warm all the air we breathe to closer to body temperature.

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  • 1 decade ago

    What you are referring to isn't "liquid oxygen" in the sense of very cold liquified gas, but "liquid breathing" where animal lungs extract oxygen through a liquid medium rather than a gas.

    Believe it or not, the US Navy has been experimenting with liquid breathing for more than 30 years using perfluorocarbon mixtures. As depicted in the movie, the theory is that liquid breathing would allow human divers to survive at great depths. The experiments continue to this day in an effort to overcome various problems that still exist with the technique.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Liquid Oxygen does exist, but you cannot breath it because it's temperature is −222.65 °C. What you saw in "The Abyss" is a Perfluorocarbon liquid.

    Check out the second link for more information.

    Long story short, Yes, it exists, but there are several problems with it.

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  • 4 years ago

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    First, the tanks of "air" that people breathe contain gaseous air (or oxygen) not liquified. scuba tanks are compressed to usually around 3000 psi. (about 200 times the content of atmospheric air for the same volume. No one breathes liquified oxygen because 1) as liquified oxygen turns into gas (ie boils) it consumes a great deal of energy and gets very very cold ( about -300 F) and 2) pure oxygen would be extremely reactive. Second, the process for filling an "air" tank is via a compressor (such as one you would use to fill your bike tires) except especially designed for breathing air. meaning oil free and with organic vapor and particle filters to purify it so you don't get sick. Third, to make liquified oxygen, you start with air. Then process it through cryogenic cycles to liquify it. That includes compressing it, exchanging the heat, allowing it to expand adiabatically (without heat exchange), then compressing it again. after a few cycles, you have liquified air. The liquid air is then run through distillation towers that result in a fractional distillation to seperate the oxygen from the nitrogen and other trace components.

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  • 3 years ago

    Breathable Liquid

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well Oxygen freezes at -222.65° C and boils at −182.96 °C -both temperatures would destroy our lungs. In Abyss an enriched mix of oxygen in a liquid matrix is meant - basically your lungs would have to fill with this liquid to adsorb oxygen - the liquid used to prevent lung collapse at very deep depths

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  • 1 decade ago

    Yes there is. Regular gaseous oxygen turns liquid at a temperature of -297.4°F. If you drank it you would get a severe burn because its so cold, but you could store it in a tank and once it warmed up breath the gas as regular oxygen.

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