Science is so neat scrubbing CO2 from exhaled breath

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-18-2012
Science is so neat scrubbing CO2 from exhaled breath
Fri, 11-16-2012 - 11:42pm

We geeks are always looking for better ways to do things using science. Among the many things I done is SCUBA diving, even to the point of build my own 5000psi air station. I also built a Hooka diving rig for my son's so they could dive to 33 feet. For their safety a 30 gallon tank stored air at 100 psi and regulator limited diving hose pressure to 15psi. This force the boys to return to surface if the tank pressure dropped below 15 psi and allow plenty of reserve air.

Naturally I would have continued diving but, once asthma developed it was impossible to continue. I had plans to move up to a rebreather and had studied the science of the process of removing (scrubbing) carbon dioxide from exhaled breath. Normally out of the 21% oxygen in air only about a 1/3 is actually used by the body. The 1/3 used combines with blood glucose to release energy for the body and CO2 is a byproduct of this reaction.

Finally I had a chance to put the theory to work. Using O2 and a scrubber and was able to lower my O2 flow to 1 liter/minute in a closed system at rest.

That evening PBS Independant lens ran a program on assisted suicide using helium it started me thinking (for geeks this is always dangerous). Without an O2 input and CO2 removed a person would die a quiet death. So if I was ever to develop an incurable medical condition this would be a neat way to a final exit. Ed

Community Leader
Registered: 08-31-2002


I'm sure others have thought of this before you.  This may even be who some of the divers drown when their appears to be no apparent reason for them to do so.  Becareful with what you try, however.  Air embolisms are possible and they are a horrible death.