The portable oxygen cylinders are filled with liquefied oxygen. Mostly used for medical purposes or in areas with scarce or no oxygen like underwater or at high levels above the ground i.e. aerospace.
Medically, oxygen gas is used in the treatment of gas poisoning, pneumonia, used as an anesthetic when mixed with nitrous oxide or administered in deficiency of oxygen [ 3 ].
Liquefied oxygen is pale blue in color, and has a density of 1.141g/cm3. The liquid has a boiling point of -182.96°C and a freezing point of -222.65°C. Its raw material is oxygen which is obtained from natural air by a process known as fractional distillation. At 20°C, liquid gas has an expansion rate of 860:1 [ 1 ].
Fractional distillation is done in a factory with boilers this makes the laborers work in very cold environments which are highly flammable. Natural air is made up of different gases which have different evaporation or freezing points. The natural air is first liquefied to be liquid air which has a mixture of liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen with boiling points of (-196°C) and (-183°C) respectively.
Liquid air is heated to -183°C in which oxygen evaporates, it’s tapped and liquefied again now as Oxygen liquid which is then packed in high-pressure cylinders for distribution. Most of the cylinders meet the minimum requirements of weighing 5 pounds and under and usually last up to 5 hours or more [ 2 ]. The cylinders administer oxygen in pulses through a device known as a conserver which delivers a pulse of oxygen when the user inhales.
Ethical considerations of the product are; the liquefied gas is highly explosive and flammable hence its use for industrial purposes. Due to its properties of being highly flammable and explosive, some people mix it with powdered charcoal to make explosives that are lethal.
The product should be produced the way it’s being done but its distributions should be controlled and sold only to authorized dealers and users to minimize its use to prepare explosives.
O’Leary, D. (2000). Oxygen O2: Retrieved on Mar 22, 2009, from http://www.ucc.ie/academic/chem/dolchem/html/elem/elem008.html
Portableoxygen, (2009). Portable Oxygen: Weights & Durations: Retrieved on Mar 22, 2009, from http://www.portableoxygen.org/weightsand%20durations.html
Rees, P & Dudley, F. (2006). Provision of oxygen at home. British Medical Journal. 317(7163): 935–938.
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