Question Makeshift oxygen producing device?

SiberianTiger

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Do you know a practical way to produce oxygen at home from ordinary materials, and not to blow up or make your fuses shut you off electricity?

(Ideas on makeshift carbon monoxide absorbents are also welcomed).
 
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N_Molson

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I already thought of this... LiOH canisters would be what you need, but they are still hi-tech devices...

Else, plants are an excellent things in that they convert CO² into O², provided they get enough natural light (smoke filters sunlight but is CO² rich, so they should be OK). If you have an aquarium, various species of algae (seaweed) are well known for their O² productivity. Near a window, they can probably get quite efficient.

For an optimal O² productivity, you can put the plants in the garden at night. Without light, they breath like any other living beings, and then produce (very little) CO². But even if you keep them inside the house, the O²/CO² balance is still very positive. The key is to provide them as much light, water, minerals & CO² as they need. High temperatures are an excellent thing too.

The only thing that could be hard to find is light. Artificial light (light bulbs) can help as "boosters". To know what exact wavelengths a plant needs, look at it's color. Most plants are green, which means they absorb the most everything between blue & red (UV), as seen below :

spectre.jpg


If you can find cheap UV lamps, that should work (keep away from these lamps though, UVs are bad for humans).

Also notice that plants need to rest. A plant which is exposed to light night and day perishes. But 6h should be enough for them to "regenerate" their cells (purge toxins).

So I would say that turning your house into an artificial jungle can be an answer, provided that the plants "sleep out" at night, and that they get enough natural & artificial light.

That won't fix the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide"]CO[/ame] problem though. CO is a poisonous gas because it fixes on the blood cells (hemoglobin) that usually carry O² throughout the body. The higher the concentration of CO, the less blood cells are available to carry O². Know that protection devices exist, but they are probably not easily available.

Hope that can help...
 

pattersoncr

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Do you know a practical way to produce oxygen at home from ordinary materials, and not to blow up or make your fuses shut you off electricity?

(Ideas on makeshift carbon monoxide absorbents are also welcomed).
How about [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_candle"]Chlorate Candles[/ame]?

All you need is some [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_chlorate"]Sodium Chlorate[/ame].
 

SiberianTiger

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Else, plants are an excellent things in that they convert CO² into O², provided they get enough natural light (smoke filters sunlight but is CO² rich, so they should be OK). If you have an aquarium, various species of algae (seaweed) are well known for their O² productivity. Near a window, they can probably get quite efficient.

For an optimal O² productivity, you can put the plants in the garden at night. Without light, they breath like any other living beings, and then produce (very little) CO². But even if you keep them inside the house, the O²/CO² balance is still very positive. The key is to provide them as much light, water, minerals & CO² as they need. High temperatures are an excellent thing too.

I though about employing plants for working at the "oxygen factory", but the above mentioned complication stopped me (as I don't have any garden, of course). Also, what are the most effective oxygen producers among home-grown plants may be? And is there a way to calculate their useful hourly output? I'm afraid something like Chlorella tanks might turn out to be the most effective thing, but neither way can be considered quick or makeshift.

The higher the concentration of CO, the less blood cells are available to carry O². Know that protection devices exist, but they are probably not easily available.

Unfortunately so, and the described 210 minutes duration would require me to have many spare absoprtion bottles. :) The same problem is with pure oxygen feeding equipment (isolation type), the main difference is that they are even more costly.

So I assume I just have to resort to window curtaining with wet curtains. I tried to look for Potassum Nitrate in a local fertilizer store, but they don't have such simple substances, all their fertilizers are complex mixtures of different stuff.

---------- Post added at 21:09 ---------- Previous post was at 21:08 ----------

I'm gonna go ahead and wish strong winds for ya, to blow the smog away :)

Sure, but I was just hoping to find some nerdy way to cope with it. :lol:

---------- Post added at 21:14 ---------- Previous post was at 21:09 ----------

How about Chlorate Candles?

All you need is some Sodium Chlorate.

Hmm, a man needs 550 litres or 24.75 moles of oxygen a day. How much of that stuff I have to convert for a daily run?

Also, I'm afraid, my problem is rather fighting carbon monoxide (or carbon dioxide, if I shut windows close properly) levels, anyway.
 

Notebook

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This sounds awfull SiberianTiger, take care.

N.
 

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I remember as a kid cracking water using a transformer from a HO scale race car track. Just make sure you vent the Hydrogen. I don't know it that would be enough production or not.
 

N_Molson

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Found on some in-door gardening site :

The recommended number of plants is 2 for every 100 square feet of interior space (assuming 8 to 10 feet ceilings) with groupings of plants being helpful. The more leaves the plant has, the better. Covering potting soil with a layer of aquarium gravel will help reduce mold spores. Even four or five plants in a room can make a difference in air quality. Some of the best plants for cleaning air indoors are:
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Gerbera Daisy
  • Aloe Vera
  • English Ivy
  • Bamboo
  • Palm
  • Banana
  • Spider Plant
  • Mum
  • Heart-Leaf Philodendron
  • Janet Craig
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • Split-Leaf Philodendron
  • Warneckie Snake Plant
  • Ficus (Weeping Fig)
  • Corn Plant
  • Peace
  • Lily Madagascar Dragon Tree
  • Umbrella Plant
  • Arrowhead Plant

[FONT=verdana, arial, helective]You've got plenty of choice !

For the night : like I said, the O²/CO² balance is still very positive towards O². Depending of the size of your rooms and the quantity of plants you have, you can open the windows at night, or not. If your home was sealed, the O² concentration would rise over the days, since the balance is positive (of course, human beings degrade the overall balance because we reject huge amounts of CO²).

Plants, like all (known) living beings breath O² and reject CO² (but almost nothing in comparison of an human being). During the day (when they have light), they degrade the CO² by [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis"]photosynthesis[/ame]
[/FONT] : using water (H2O) molecules, they extract C from the air to use it as a "building material" (glucose, a raw sugar).

350px-Photosynthesis_equation.svg.png


As you see we get... 6O² molecules, which are useless for the plant (that breath very little amounts of O²) ! Those molecules are directly rejected in the air through the foliage.

So we win on 2 sides : CO² is destroyed and O² is generated :)

Oh, and Potassium Nitrate is an excellent fertilizer to boost the plants, BTW ! :p
 

SiberianTiger

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I remember as a kid cracking water using a transformer from a HO scale race car track. Just make sure you vent the Hydrogen. I don't know it that would be enough production or not.

I read a space computer power source is great for that, you only need to have proper electrodes (and of course, think about separation of resulting gases).
 

pattersoncr

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Hmm, a man needs 550 litres or 24.75 moles of oxygen a day. How much of that stuff I have to convert for a daily run?

According to Wikipedia, Sodium Chlorate produces, "6.5 man-hours of oxygen per kilogram of the mixture."

Also, I'm afraid, my problem is rather fighting carbon monoxide (or carbon dioxide, if I shut windows close properly) levels, anyway.

You're right, in a closed environment, CO2 buildup will kill you long before Oxygen depletion.

I read a space computer power source is great for that, you only need to have proper electrodes (and of course, think about separation of resulting gases).

Gas separation isn't very technically challanging. H2 will collect at the cathode, O2 will collect at the annode. Just make sure the electrodes are on opposite sides of a gas-proof barrier.
 

N_Molson

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If you try Electrolysis, put a lot of salt in the water. It will greatly improve the process, since salted water conducts electricity better than clean water.

I did that when I was at school. We used "Low Frequency Power Generators" (12V), in one hour the result was impressive. A column of bubbles rose from each electrode, we had to put a tube over each column of bubbles.

At the end, the teacher took a H² filled tube, and closed a lighted match from it. H² exploded with a funny loud noise, but nothing was visible (no smoke, no flame). Here's the exact schematic :

240px-Schemas_electrolyse_h2o.jpg


For the electrode, we used Zinc (Zn) and Copper (Cu) if I remember well. The idea is that ionic molecules migrate from an electrode to the other.

Signs that the device works : one column of bubbles over each electrode, and with the time you'll get a deposit of Cu on the Zn electrode and the inverse.

You'll produce a greater volume of H², because it's a lighter molecule.
 

T.Neo

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Some sort of plant-based method would be best, but I don't know how much oxygen it could practically produce.

I don't know the characteristics of the air there with all that terrible smog, but there is bound to be some oxygen in the air already. Perhaps filtering out the bad stuff (i.e. carbon monoxide and small particles) would be the ideal.
 

N_Molson

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It's easy to filter the "smoke" (particles suspended in the air), with a vacuum cleaner or some wet cloth put in front of a fan.

However, Carbone Oxyde is real problem :

35 ppm (0.0035%) Headache and dizziness within six to eight hours of constant exposure
100 ppm (0.01%) Slight headache in two to three hours 200 ppm (0.02%) Slight headache within two to three hours; loss of judgment
400 ppm (0.04%) Frontal headache within one to two hours
800 ppm (0.08%) Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 min; insensible within 2 hours
1,600 ppm (0.16%) Headache, tachycardia, dizziness, and nausea within 20 min; death in less than 2 hours
3,200 ppm (0.32%) Headache, dizziness and nausea in five to ten minutes. Death within 30 minutes.
6,400 ppm (0.64%) Headache and dizziness in one to two minutes. Convulsions, respiratory arrest, and death in less than 20 minutes.
12,800 ppm (1.28%) Unconsciousness after 2-3 breaths. Death in less than three minutes.

CO has an average half-life of 80 minutes in the organism. Higher O² concentration reduce this latency.

Sources of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide is a result or product of incomplete combustion typically of a hydrocarbon such as natural gas or petroleum. There are many different situations where carbon monoxide can be produced due to incomplete combustion.


Symptoms

The symptoms of mild carbon monoxide poisoning can go unnoticed and are similar to a viral cold or flu infection, typically; headache, nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness, sore throat and dry cough. Unlike flu carbon monoxide poisoning does not cause a raised or high temperature. Higher levels of poisoning can result in hyperventilation, raised and irregular heartbeat, confusion, drowsiness and difficulty breathing. Ultimately loss of consciousness, seizures and death are real possibilities.


Facts

Carbon Monoxide is produced across industry in controlled and hazardous situations. In industrial applications it is particularly associated with confined spaces, where there is the potential for contamination of the atmosphere due to incomplete combustion products from the exhaust of an engine, generator, boiler system or from contamination of a breathable compressed air line.
In many of these situations, the risk of exposure can be minimised, or altogether eliminated, by the use of an oxidation catalyst, which will convert harmful Carbon Monoxide, to the much less harmful Carbon Dioxide.


Reaction : CO + ½ O2 = CO2


Catalysis

Catalysis is the process by which the rate of reaction is increased by the addition of an additional element known as a catalyst to the reaction. What makes a catalyst different from a chemical reagent is that whilst it participates in the reaction, it is not consumed in the reaction. That is, the catalysts may undergo several chemical changes during the reaction, but at the end of the reaction, the catalyst is unchanged. A catalysts service life will usually be determined by how quickly it becomes poisoned or fouled. This is where contaminants deposit on the surface of the catalyst and begin to blind the reaction sites resulting in a drop in performance of the catalyst to a point where it needs to be regenerated or replaced.


Carbon Monoxide Catalyst (Oxidation Catalyst)


Oxidation catalysts are used for the removal of Carbon Monoxide in various applications, typically from breathable gases.


A number of oxidation catalyst products are available, depending on the application and conditions of use. All the catalysts operate in a similar way, by catalyzing the reaction of carbon monoxide with available oxygen to convert the monoxide to harmless carbon dioxide. The treated gas must therefore contain a certain level of oxygen in order for the catalyst to be effective.


The temperature of operation, carbon monoxide level, humidity and presence of other contaminants within the gas stream will all have an effect on the performance of the catalyst, and therefore the most appropriate type of catalyst will depend on the application.
You can turn CO into CO², which would be a very good thing (especially associated with plants). But I don't know about the process.
 
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Glider

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If you try Electrolysis, put a lot of salt in the water. It will greatly improve the process, since salted water conducts electricity better than clean water.
You forget to add that salt must be some sulphate, nitrate, perchlorate etc. Electrolysis of table sult will result in production of toxic chlorine along with H2.

At the end, the teacher took a H² filled tube, and closed a lighted match from it. H² exploded with a funny loud noise, but nothing was visible (no smoke, no flame). Here's the exact schematic :
it wasn't H2 filled tube. it was a tube filled with O2 + H2 explodable mixture because you used low-frequency 12V generator. Pure H2 will not explode without mixing with O2.

For the electrode, we used Zinc (Zn) and Copper (Cu) if I remember well. The idea is that ionic molecules migrate from an electrode to the other.
Zinc electrode will be rapidly destructed and no O2 will be produced. For O2 production can be used only platimun/gold/(etc.) or carbon(with low density of current) electrodes.

You'll produce a greater volume of H², because it's a lighter molecule.
it is not because H is lighter molecule. it is so, because the formula of water is H2O.(2 H for one O. that correspond to 2 volume of H2 + 1 volume of O2 )
 

N_Molson

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Of course, that's the exact process to follow if you want pure H² and pure O² in each tube... We're not seeking for pure science, but for a process that can work with common materials...

Yes the electrodes were almost destructed in 1 hour.

I knew for the last one, just forgot to edit the post.

As said already, plants are probably the most cost-effective idea.
 

SiberianTiger

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Okay, right now fair winds have blown most of the hazardous stuff away, and I resorted to much more pleasurable health upkeeping methods, such as drinking red wine! :)

I have two plants in my home and I hope they'll earn the care they receive every day, taking fair amount of CO2 from me when I need it! :lol:

Hopefully, we'll go through this nasty time well.
 

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Potassium Nitrate can be extracted from any fertile soil. Using soil from the bottom of a compost or manure heap will provide better yields.


You will need - A 5 gallon bucket (metal or plastic). A large basin. A a large kettle or stock pot. A ladle (or something that allows you to safely dip out small amouts of boiling water). Filter material (the brown commercial paper toweling works fine, 3 gallons of alcohol (any kind - rubbing alcohol works well and is cheap). A few cotton rags. some ash. A well ventilated (preferably outdoors) workspace. Safety Goggles recommended.

1 Drill several small holes in bottom of bucket. Place a layer of rags in bottom of bucket and cover with thin layer of wood or paper (newspaper ash is best) ashes. Top that with one more layer of rags. Fill with Dirt, then suspend over the basin.

In the kettle, bring 5 gallons of water to a boil, and then slowly ladle about a cup at a time over the dirt. This should be done slowly to prevent blockages, and collect the water in the basin as it drains out of the holes you drilled in the bucket.

After you've collected the water in the basin, boil it until it reduces to about 3 gallons. skim off any salt crystals that form during this process - they will float to the top and can be skimmed using a piece of paper towel.

Next, remove heat and allow to cool slighltly - just below 180F is good. Add three gallons of alcohol, then pour through several layers of filter material. Allow the filter to dry and discard the water that gets through.

The material that remains on the filter should be flaked off into a pot. Add just enough boiling water to thoroughly dissolve the material (at least as much as it will dissolve). Once agoin, boil down to about half it's volume, skimming any salt crystals that form. Allow to cool a bit, and pour through fresh filter material. Retain the liquid this time, and place it into a shallow pan to evaporate. What is left will be fairly high concentration of Potassium Nitrate, plenty "pure" enough for the manufacture of "Rocket Candy" or making O2.

WARNING..........WARNING...............WARNING

The possesion of Potasium Nitrate is legal in the US, as is making it yourself this way, Other than the risks involved with dealing with boiling liquids, this is fairly safe for anyone with basic cooking skills. HOWEVER - Potasium Nitrate is a basic building block for many explosives, so doing this may well invite serious and even angry questioning from local, state, or even federal Law Enforcement agents. If you ever see someone suspicious doing this, don't hesitate to report it to the authorities.

Minors should not attempt this without parental permission and guidance. In some cases, a local science teacher may be willing to help with this - if your teacher is this kind of person getting his assistance will make this much safer - both physically and legally.
 

insanity

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If you try Electrolysis, put a lot of salt in the water. It will greatly improve the process, since salted water conducts electricity better than clean water.
I think your chemistry is a bit off there. If you add sodium chloride, what will happen is that you will create chlorine gas at the cathode and sodium hydroxide (aq) at the anode (plus what ever reaction happens between the metal and the ions). Hydrogen gas will bubble off, but so will chlorine.

If use Potassium Hydroxide as your salt, then you will get the reaction described by the diagrams.

To make this fun, let's do the chemistry on it. According to you, a man needs 24.75 moles of Oxygen.

The simplified reaction is:
2 H2O(l) → 2 H2(g) + O2(g)

To get 24.75 moles of diatomic oxygen, you'd need 49.5 moles of water. Because the density of water is 1 g/cc (and the molar mass 18.2g/mol) you'd need about 892mL of water. If you used a liter of water and bottled the gas, you'd have a days worth of oxygen.
 
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