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Like a fish underwater

November 21, 2005
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Bodner’s device has the potential to overcome limitations imposed on divers by oxygen tanks. Tanks limit not only the amount of time a diver can remain underwater, but also affect the diver’s buoyancy when they empty out over the course of a dive. In addition, tanks must be brought to refueling facilities to be reused.

Nuclear submarines and the international space station have long used systems that generate oxygen from water by performing electrolysis––the separation of oxygen from hydrogen. However, these systems require too much energy for standard submarines, let alone divers, to use.

Bodner got the idea for his invention from fish that do not perform chemical separation of oxygen from water. Instead, they use the dissolved air that exists in the water in order to breathe. The system uses a physics principle known as Henry’s law, which states that the amount of gas that can be dissolved in a liquid body is proportional to the pressure on the liquid body. Using a rapidly rotating centrifuge to create increased pressure inside a small sealed chamber containing seawater, Bodner was able to extract enough oxygen from the water for a human being to breathe.

A laboratory model of the system has already been built and tested. It runs on rechargeable batteries and can be worn in the form of a vest. Bodner is now building a full-sized prototype. He has already received a patent for the invention in Europe and is expecting to receive one in the United States as well.

For further information, please contact Alon Bodner via e-mail: [email protected]

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