The whole world is in turmoil and humankind is endangered due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our neighboring countries are already in terrible condition due to the second wave while other parts of the world are also facing a critical situation. This time the new coronavirus is infecting the lungs badly. Once infected, the patient's shortness of breath increases. So urgent oxygen becomes necessary to save lives and liquid medical oxygen comes as a lifesaver. Here we have discussed some essential facts about liquid medical oxygen, its production procedure and application in COVID-19 treatment.
What is Liquid Medical Oxygen? How is it different from Industrial Oxygen?
Liquid Medical Oxygen is highly pure oxygen that is usually used for medical purposes only. It is specially produced for the human body. Because of its low melting and boiling points, it remains in a gaseous state even at room temperature. However, liquification gives an easy transportation solution and lets you store in larger volumes.
On the other hand, industrial oxygen is used for industrial settings such as combustion, oxidation, manufacturing plants, and more. Furthermore, industrial oxygen can accelerate some chemical reactions too. The steelmaking industry is one of the biggest users of industrial oxygen. However, this kind of oxygen is not intended for the human body.
The biggest difference between medical and industrial oxygen is that industrial oxygen is not safe to inhale. It is because the purity level is not up to the mark and it may contain contaminants from the tanks. On the other hand, medical oxygen tanks are different.
While medical oxygen is solely used for the medical purpose only, industrial oxygen has multiple uses such as:
- Manufacturing the metal items, for instance, steel production.
- Cutting, welding, flame cleaning, etc.
- It can also use as a bleaching chemical that helps to create paper and paper-based items.
- Assist to create certain fuel
Oxygen is necessary for human breathing to function the body properly. If the respiratory is not taking the oxygens properly, medical intervention is needed. Medical oxygen comes in handy to maintain a good blood oxygen level, otherwise, it can create serious health consequences, even lead to death. So a proper amount of medical oxygen is essential or else the imbalanced medical oxygen can lead to toxicity.
While medical oxygen is regulated properly to ensure high purity, industrial oxygen doesn’t care about purity. As a result, industrial oxygen may contain irregular items and harmful contaminants. Therefore, industrial oxygen is not perfect to use for medical purposes.
How is Liquid Medical Oxygen produced?
Liquid Medical Oxygen has different production methods. The most common production method is the air separation unit or the ASU method. There are also fractional distillation methods, in which the gases obtained from the atmosphere are separated into different components after cooling in the liquid state and then liquid oxygen is extracted from there.
Cryogenic is a method of producing medical oxygen at very low temperatures. It is a type of liquid that has a normal boiling point level below -90 degrees Celsius is called a cryogenic liquid. There is a special type of container to store this kind of liquid. Cryogenic liquid containers are specially designed to be transported safely and at a very low cost. It is stored as liquid gas even at cryogenic temperatures below -90 C. These containers are made in such a way that liquid gas can be stored at very low temperatures.
Pressure Swing Absorption Technology
It is a non-cryogenic oxygen production method. Oxygen can be produced in this way by applying a certain amount of high pressure. Hospitals can produce oxygen using this method.
The pressure swing method works under high pressure via a vessel that contains an adsorbent bed of ‘zeolite’ which eventually attracts the nitrogen more strongly than the oxygen. The nitrogen will stay in the bed and the gas leaving the vessel will be filled with oxygen.
Further, this will reduce the cost of transporting oxygen to hospitals.
In addition to these sources of medical oxygen, there are also portable oxygen generators known as oxygen concentrators, which can be used at home.