Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Breathing liquid oxygen
Name: June Hagberg
Status: N/A 
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
Would it be possible for humans to breathe liquid oxygen?



Replies:
Liquid oxygen is very cold, more than 200 degrees below zero on the centigrade scale. At this temperature all of the desirable physical properties of the lung would be nonfunctional. To get an idea of how the flexibility of the lung would change, place a carnation in some liquid nitrogen or a super deep freeze. Your question is interesting though because it would be desirable to breath liquid instead of gas under certain conditions. Special liquids are being designed to carry dissolved gaseous oxygen to the lung and to remove carbon dioxide. Even fish are breathing dissolved oxygen, the water is much too warm for liquid oxygen.

Michael B Lomonaco



Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory