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Evaluation of Oxygen Concentrators and Chemical Oxygen Generators at Altitude and Temperature Extremes

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Special rept. Mar 2013-Dec 2014

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Supplemental oxygen can be lifesaving in emergency situations, although the burden of providing oxygen during transport and in remote areas is substantial in cost, transport, and materials. Oxygen cylinders are heavy and present a number of potential hazards including fire and projectile risks. Liquid oxygen systems provide a large amount of gas with a smaller footprint but are heavy, exhaust gas over time, and present a burn risk if handled improperly. Additionally, the output of both of these oxygen systems is finite and requires refilling, which presents logistical issues in far forward military operations. Simpler, lighter, and longer lasting oxygen delivery systems are needed for military and mass casualty operations. As possible materiel solutions, we evaluated portable oxygen concentrators POCs and chemical oxygen generators at altitude and temperature extremes. Understanding performance of these devices under deployed conditions is crucial to safe and effective use. POCs and chemical oxygen generators have been proposed as alternatives to liquid and pressurized gaseous oxygen systems in far forward military operations and in disaster and mass casualty scenarios. The austere environments in which the devices may be deployed may have an effect on performance. Storage at extremely cold temperatures had the greatest negative effect on the performance of the POCs. Allowing additional time for the devices to acclimate to room temperature before startup may improve device performance. POCs should not be operated at altitudes above that stated in the operator s manual.

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  • Life Support Systems

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