The cobalt world is always looking for innovative new applications for the blue metal, and this one is truly breathtaking.

A new-fangled crystal, which comes from cobalt, appears to be capable of holding and storing oxygen at high concentrations.

A paper by researchers from the University of Southern Denmark notes that the material acts as both a sensor, and a container for oxygen, which can be used to bind, store and transport oxygen.

"In the lab, we saw how this material took up oxygen from the air around us," the study’s author, Christine McKenzie, said. 

It can absorb and release oxygen many times without losing the ability.

Why does this matter, I hear you ask.

Well, the crystal, which is actually a salt which comes from cobalt, could have a lot of useful and potentially life-changing applications.

It could feed high concentrations of oxygen into hydrogen fuel cells, lightening the load for lung patients who have to carry around heavy oxygen tanks.

And scuba divers could potentially leave their tanks at home.

Divers could get oxygen from this material as it filters and concentrates oxygen from surrounding air or water.

“A few grains contain enough oxygen for one breath, and as the material can absorb oxygen from the water around the diver and supply the diver with it, the diver will not need to bring more than these few grains," Mackenzie said.

And it’s all thanks to cobalt, which is bound in a specially-designed organic molecule.

"Cobalt gives the new material precisely the molecular and electronic structure that enables it to absorb oxygen from its surroundings," explains McKenzie.

Yes, it blew Hotline’s mind too.

Check out this research, published in Science Daily, for more information.

Fleur Ritzema
fritzema@metalbulletin.com
Twitter: FleurRitzema_MB