Oxygen Concentrators – What Are They And What Do They Do?
Oxygen concentrators are devices which takes the supplied air and scrubs and cleans the air of any other elements and converts it into an oxygen enriched mixture. It essentially clean rids the air of elements other than oxygen. The air we breathe contains up to 78% nitrogen and only 21% of oxygen and one of these devices can purify the air by up to 36%.
These devices use pressure swing absorption technology to produce the mixed air. This is when high pressure is used on the gases and this causes them to become almost solid states, this causes the heavier gases to sink to the bottom. This allows for the gases to be separated at a molecular level permitting for certain gases to be strained and sorted. The air travels through a container which attracts nitrogen and this causes the concentration of nitrogen, which is heavier than oxygen, in the air to sink to the bottom of the container while the element flows through and leaves the container in a more pure concentration.
These type of devices known more commonly as medical oxygen generators or generation plants, is made up of two cylinders, one which contains the supplied uncleansed air along with a an air compressor, and zeolite pellets. The other contains the purified air with a higher oxygen content.
Oxygen concentrators are more common as medical oxygen generators which is found in the field of medicine or more specifically in remote or mobile medical facilities. Nevertheless these are not the only applications of this device as is also used in the military to supply aircrews with the element in high altitudes. It also has industrial uses where these dives are used for lamp welding, fuel gas cutting and welding purposes. Portable versions of this device are also available in the open market which cater to a more individual and personalised need such as oxygen therapy. Benefits of this therapy include reduction of fatigue and breathlessness, improvement in sleeping patterns of those with sleep related breathing disorders and reduction of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) complications. Oxygen concentrators are also use in commercial airlines to maintain a clean air supply when airborne.
These devices are considered to be a safer choice than gas cylinders as they have lesser likelihood of exploding if exposed to conflicting elements. The reason is because the air contained in the device is compressed. This makes it a safer choice when it comes to day to day use by someone who has respiratory defects.