Before our flight takes off, the cabin crew gives us a run down of all the safety features of the plane. This covers emergency exits and safety protocol as well as an introduction about the oxygen masks. But do you know how these oxygen masks work and what they’re actually called?
The masks on the airplane generate oxygen through a simple chemical reaction. The reaction is triggered when the masks are tugged by the passenger when they are dropped due to cabin depressurization. These are called oxygen candles.
What are Oxygen Candles?
In an emergency, oxygen candles are a backup source of breathable air. They also provide an on-demand source of oxygen. These are often used in flights, space stations, and other places, including safe havens and refuge chambers.
A steady flow of oxygen is essential for survival. We rely on it for survival, and our bodies use it to generate energy. The oxygen candles are ready to produce a finite amount of oxygen via a chemical process if primary oxygen sources become scarce. (Source: Mine ARC Systems)
How Do Oxygen Candles Work?
Heat and the chemical reaction produce oxygen. The chemical that has oxygen in oxygen candles is sodium chlorate, which is made up of sodium chlorate, barium peroxide, and iron powder.
This chemical reaction necessitates a large quantity of energy, which is why iron powder is required. Iron powder burns at a higher temperature of roughly 600°C or 1112°F, as the iron warms up, it gets extremely hot, breaking down the sodium chlorate. Thermal breakdown creates oxygen, sodium chloride, and iron oxide due to this reaction.
When a specific initiation mechanism, a brass starter, burns the iron powder, it provides the initial energy required to start the reaction. Oxygen candles generate heat. For everyone’s safety, precautions must be taken, including the usage of gloves and a strict no-moving policy. (Source: Mine ARC Systems)
The technology of these candles is commonly used in the masks of aircraft. They are also used by firefighters, submarine crew, and mine rescue teams, basically everywhere compact emergency oxygen is required. (Source: Science ABC)
What Are The Risks of Using Oxygen Candles?
The risks associated with candles are frequently feared without justification. Two significant problems are oversaturation and fire threats. The candles can reach a state of oxygen enrichment. However, the same fire ignition dangers persist at these percentages, and no additional ignition risk exists. If the candles are mistreated, a severe fire hazard exists. Hence vital safety requirements are in place.
These candles are intended to be used when immediate oxygen is required and are worth the danger. From a MineARC standpoint, this independent, compact, and steady third source of oxygen are quite valuable.
When breathing air is scarce, an oxygen candle is a device that creates oxygen. They can provide enough oxygen to sustain life while waiting for rescue when used as the last source of breathable air within a refuge chamber. Oxygen candles are dependable, reasonably safe, and can survive for a long time without losing their ability to produce oxygen. (Source: Mine ARC Systems)