Breathing liquid? 
Author Message
 Breathing liquid?

Sometimes in science fiction etc. one encounters the idea of
deep divers breathing liquid instead of gas (the last example
is in the movie The Abyss).  What is the rationale for this
idea, if any?  Is it at all possible for a human being to
breathe and obtain oxygen from a liquid?

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Wed, 19 May 1993 10:15:00 GMT
 Breathing liquid?

Quote:

>Sometimes in science fiction etc. one encounters the idea of
>deep divers breathing liquid instead of gas (the last example
>is in the movie The Abyss).  What is the rationale for this
>idea, if any?  Is it at all possible for a human being to
>breathe and obtain oxygen from a liquid?

Definitely. Many experiments have been done with various fluorocarbons and
lab animals. The idea is to fill the lungs with something that doesn't cause
as many problems under high-pressure situations.

--


For herein may be seen noble chivalry, courtesy, humanity, friendliness,
cowardice, {*filter*}, hate, virtue and sin. Do after the good and leave the
evil, and it shall bring you to good fame and renown. -- Malory



Wed, 19 May 1993 16:21:00 GMT
 Breathing liquid?
I've seen pictures of this done with rats.  I believe the liquid is a
fluorocarbon, with air or oxygen bubbled through it.


Wed, 19 May 1993 02:02:00 GMT
 Breathing liquid?

writes:

 TG>Sometimes in science fiction etc. one encounters the idea of
 TG>deep divers breathing liquid instead of gas (the last example
 TG>is in the movie The Abyss).  What is the rationale for this
 TG>idea, if any?  Is it at all possible for a human being to
 TG>breathe and obtain oxygen from a liquid?
 TG>

This has been answered before in this echo.  Some years ago there was a TV  
demonstration of just such a system in which a mouse was subjected to the  
liquid.  It survived and seemed none the worse for wear.  Then the subject  
faded.  It has almost assuredly been tried by the U.S.Navy but if so has been  
kept rather quiet.  So yes it is feasible and has been tried at least in  
animals.

Leo

--  
Uucp: ...{gatech,ames,rutgers}!ncar!asuvax!stjhmc!14!Leo.Bores



Wed, 19 May 1993 04:25:00 GMT
 Breathing liquid?
I seem to remember from when the TV show "That's Incredible" was on they had a demonstration of a liquid that animals coould breath in.  I think it had something to do with fluids found in the uterus.


Wed, 19 May 1993 16:15:00 GMT
 Breathing liquid?

Quote:

>Sometimes in science fiction etc. one encounters the idea of
>deep divers breathing liquid instead of gas (the last example
>is in the movie The Abyss).  What is the rationale for this
>idea, if any?  Is it at all possible for a human being to
>breathe and obtain oxygen from a liquid?

The September 8 issue of _Science_ magazine has a short article on this in the
"Research News" section.  The use of perfluorocarbon fluid for oxygen delivery
has recently been done for the first time in humans by Dr. Thomas Shaffer of
Temple, though this had been done in animals in 1966.  Perfluorocarbons can
carry more dissolved oxygen than air, and can deliver this oxygen at lower
pressures than, for example, a mechanical ventilator would require.  Thus,
they are being investigated for use in premature infants, whose lungs are
underdeveloped and cannot handle the high pressures of mechanical ventilation.
The technique, as applied in the human test, does not fill the lung with fluid
for more than about 15 minutes; the fluid is only used at this point to expand
the underdeveloped alveoli (which have inadequate surfactant), and the low
surface tension of the perfluorocarbon keeps these alveoli inflated when the
lung is drained.
        There are other potential applications for the technique; I suggest you
find the article if you want more information.  By the way, liquid breathing
apparatus designed by Dr. Shaffer was cited explicitly in the novelizaton of
"The Abyss".


University of Pennsylvania
Department of Bioengineering



Wed, 19 May 1993 17:50:00 GMT
 Breathing liquid?

Quote:

>Sometimes in science fiction etc. one encounters the idea of
>deep divers breathing liquid instead of gas (the last example
>is in the movie The Abyss).  What is the rationale for this
>idea, if any?

The rationale is that a large body of liquid would have a good supply of
oxygen disolved in it and thus the need to carry an air supply with us would be
removed.

Quote:
>Is it at all possible for a human being to breathe and obtain oxygen from a

liquid?

Well, rats have been fitted with a water tight membrane across their mouths
that allowed for transfer of gas but not liquid; the rodent subjects were able
to quite easily breathe under-water for  over an hour (they were removed
because it was felt at the time that longer periods would serve little purpose
in the initial studies...besides its tough to cut the little devils up under
water and get decent observations). These tests were conducted in fish tanks,
so obviously the question arises about the effect pressure would have, and
how does a larger organism (ie man) with its increased requirements for oxygen
make out. Don't know. An old argument states that if there was enough air to
support the energy demands of a highly developed brain, then we would have a
lot smarter fish.

--
/ / / / / / / / / / :-(I Think, Therefore I Am, I Think :-) / / / / / / / / / /

/   (519)884-1710 Ext 570                         Waterloo, Ont., N2J 4G5     /
/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /



Wed, 19 May 1993 21:44:00 GMT
 Breathing liquid?

Quote:
(Howard Steel) writes:

>>Is it at all possible for a human being to breathe and obtain oxygen from a
>liquid?

>Well, rats have been fitted with a water tight membrane across their mouths
>that allowed for transfer of gas but not liquid; the rodent subjects were able
>to quite easily breathe under-water for  over an hour
...
> These tests were conducted in fish tanks,
>so obviously the question arises about the effect pressure would have, and
>how does a larger organism (ie man) with its increased requirements for oxygen
>make out. Don't know.

>/   (519)884-1710 Ext 570                     Waterloo, Ont., N2J 4G5     /

Could you find a reference for this?  If the rate of accumulation of oxygen
is not high enough, then perhaps a small motor could be used to pass the
liquid by the membrane.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to scuba dive
without any tanks for indefinite periods of time?

  Tom Schneider
  National Cancer Institute
  Laboratory of Mathematical Biology
  Frederick, Maryland  21701-1013



Wed, 19 May 1993 00:49:00 GMT
 Breathing liquid?

Quote:
>I've seen pictures of this done with rats.  I believe the liquid is a
>fluorocarbon, with air or oxygen bubbled through it.

Many or all of us have, in fact, seen pictures of this being done with
a rat.  The rat breathing liquid in the recent movie, "The Abyss", was
an actual demonstration of this technique.  (The humans were not
breathing liquid, as I understand.  that was an effect, with helmets
filled with water.)

--



Wed, 19 May 1993 02:51:00 GMT
 Breathing liquid?

 >TG :Sometimes in science fiction etc. one encounters the idea of
 >TG :deep divers breathing liquid instead of gas (the last example
 >TG :is in the movie The Abyss).  What is the rationale for this
 >TG :idea, if any?  Is it at all possible for a human being to
 >TG :breathe and obtain oxygen from a liquid?

Yes, it should be possible for a human to breath liquid. There have been some  
tests on a rat that has been breathing a liquid (inert) permiated by oxygen. No  
problems were encountered. I cannot remember the name of the liquid at present.
One of the main advantages will be that divers could theoretically dive very,  
very deep and surface when they are ready. The nitrogen narcosis will not be a  
factor anymore, (No more Bends). This would be primarily die to the liquid  
being breathed, and the outside pressure, also a liquid being at the same  
pressure.

Hope this Helps..



--  
Uucp: ...{gatech,ames,rutgers}!ncar!asuvax!stjhmc!233!12!Curtis.Campbell



Wed, 19 May 1993 18:14:00 GMT
 Breathing liquid?

Quote:


> >Sometimes in science fiction etc. one encounters the idea of
> >deep divers breathing liquid instead of gas (the last example
> >is in the movie The Abyss).  What is the rationale for this
> >idea, if any?  Is it at all possible for a human being to
> >breathe and obtain oxygen from a liquid?
>[....]
>    There are other potential applications for the technique; I suggest you
> find the article if you want more information.  By the way, liquid breathing
> apparatus designed by Dr. Shaffer was cited explicitly in the novelizaton of
> "The Abyss".

In issue #39 of _cinefex ...the journal of cinematic illusions_ there
are a couple of paragraphs describing the use of breathing fluid in
the film _The Abyss_.  The premise in the film is that a fluid
breathing suit will allow a diver to go below what are considered the
normal physiological limits of diving.  Filling the lungs with fluid
will relieve the tremendous pressures on a gas filled body at
tremendous depth, not to mention the advantages of using a wet suit
under such pressures.  I would also guess that some of the problems
with dissolved gases in the {*filter*} will be lessened.  Of course the
problems of keeping warm will be enhanced!  It may also be possible to
obtain sufficient oxygen from the surrounding water by using a larger
mechanical lung.

Johannes Kylstra is mentioned as the pioneer of fluid breathing
research.  James Cameron, the director of _The Abyss_ is quoted:
"Lungs, of course, are much less efficient than gills at getting
oxygen out of liquids.  To compensate for this evolutionary bias,
loads of oxygen must be put into the liquid breathing medium."
Flourocarbon solutions hold a large amount of dissolved oxygen,
possibly sufficient oxygen for life support.  However there remains
the problem of how to remove carbon dioxide from the body.  Again
Cameron:  "Someone came up with the idea of using a sodium carbonate
material like the kind used in air sc{*filter*}s on submarines.  It
worked; but the substance was caustic, so it had to be put in an
emulsion form where individual particles were isolated from the lung
tissue."  At the time the film was made, Cameron says that all
significant research in fluid breathing has ground to a halt because
the FDA will not approve human use of these liquids.

The very same fluorocarbon emulsion used in research happens to be
marketed by 3M for electronic parts deoxidizing.  This commercial
version was used in the film to demonstrate the technique with a rat.
The scene was done for real, with a live rat, with complete success.
Ed Harris does not breath liquid in the film though.  Coloured water
is pumped into his helmet while he simulates the experiences of the
rat, moving his chest and opening his mouth, appearing to gulp the
liquid.
--
                                                Greg A. Woods

T}
+1 416 443-1734 [h]   +1 416 595-5425 [w]   VE3-TCP   Toronto, Ontario; CANADA



Wed, 19 May 1993 17:07:00 GMT
 Breathing liquid?

Quote:
(Thomas Gramstad) writes:
>Sometimes in science fiction etc. one encounters the idea of
>deep divers breathing liquid instead of gas (the last example
>is in the movie The Abyss).  What is the rationale for this
>idea, if any?  Is it at all possible for a human being to
>breathe and obtain oxygen from a liquid?

As others have said, the technique is real, although if experiments
have been done on human subjects, the experimenters are keeping quiet.
No one has answered the first question, however: why?

The answer lies in the fact that oxygen is toxic, and nitrogen is a
narcotic---fortunately, not at normal atmospheric pressure.  At high
pressures ordinary air can make you act drunk; at still higher
pressures, it will kill you.  Even a moderate increase in pressure is
dangerous, because nitrogen dissolves in {*filter*}, and gets into body
tissues.  When the pressure is reduced, it can form bubbles, typically
in the joints: this is caled the `bends', because a person with this
condition has severe joint pain and stays in a bent position to
alleviate the pain.  These effects occur because higher pressures
compress the gases, increasing the concentration of each of its
components.

Although gases compress, liquids do not.  The idea, then, is to
dissolve the necessary oxygen in an otherwise-inert liquid, keeping the
concentration below the point where it is toxic, and keeping the
nitrogen concentration at or below that of air at normal atmospheric
pressure.  Problems abound: removal of waste products (CO2),
circulation of fluid, oxygenation of fluid, and so forth.  I believe
the middle one of the above list is the most pressing problem at the
moment, at least as far as diving goes.  `Breathing' the liquid used is
simply too much effort.
--
In-Real-Life: Chris Torek, Univ of MD Comp Sci Dept (+1 301 454 7163)



Wed, 19 May 1993 19:08:00 GMT
 
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