Can Humans Breathe Liquid?
It’s been a century since scientists have been studying the subject, and it seems that reality is catching up with fiction.
Experiments on fluid breathing
During the First World War, doctors tested the liquid breathing on dogs, trying to fight toxic gases. They used saline solution, PFC perfluorocarbon or fluorinated gas for its ability to dissolve oxygen and carbon dioxide. Then, in the 1960s, scientists from Duke University succeeded on guinea pigs with a saline fluid under a pressure of 160 bar, which corresponds to the pressure at a depth of 1500 meters under the water. Mice died, but the experiment continued with other scientists trying on cats and rats. Cats succeeded breathing fluid for several weeks, and the rats 20 hours. In 1989, tests were made on newborns with severe respiratory insufficiency. A liquid containing perfluorocarbons is injected into their lungs. Doctors were trying to determine if breathing fluid can recreate the conditions of uterine respiration. But to control the volume of injected PCF, the experiment requires an oxygen machine, but this machine was only a prototype at that time. Success is therefore not total.
A research team from the University of Southern Denmark has announced that it has designed a material capable of capturing oxygen from the surrounding environment, air or water, and keeping it at a very high concentration. Nicknamed “the Aquaman’s Crystal” super hero capable of breathing underwater, its goal is to replace the oxygen cylinders used in both medical and diving industries. This liquid is able to concentrate 3 times more oxygen than in a conventional bottle. A 10 liter container is able to draw all the oxygen from a room. And the crystal, a kind of solid hemoglobin, is in addition, reusable! The researchers developed a mask containing the liquid that would allow patients with respiratory failure to breathe without using a pump system.
The crystal can also be used for leisure, and the dream of every diver, breathing without tank, will finally become reality! “Some grains contain enough oxygen for breathing, and since the material can absorb oxygen from the water around the diver and deliver it, the diver will not need to take more than a few grains,” explains The Danish scientist Christine MacKenzie.
But for now this miracle product is not yet on sale and no date is given for its marketing, so it will be necessary to wait a little and continue until its arrival to use our good old tanks.