Oxygen (page 1
Pages 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Information on the use
of supplemental oxygen in general aviation aircraft.
information is presented to give the reader an informal
overview on the use of oxygen in general aviation
aircraft. The use of flow meters in factory supplied
built in oxygen systems and the use of portable oxygen
systems are the major topics discussed. If the reader
still has questions about the use of oxygen in general
aviation, please give us a call. We will be glad to
answer any of your questions and provide you with
assistance as necessary.
Oxygen includes 21% of
the atmosphere at all altitudes. The remaining atmosphere
consists of 78% nitrogen and 1% traces of other gases.
Oxygen under normal conditions is an odorless, colorless,
tasteless, non-combustible gas. It is the most important
single element on earth.
At each breath we fill our lungs with air. Millions of
tiny air sacs (known as "alveoli") in our lungs
inflate like tiny balloons. In the minutely thin walls
enclosing each sac are microscopic capillaries though
which blood is constantly transported, from the lungs to
every cell in the body. The oxygen extracted from the air
in the lungs is carried by the blood to every part of the
body. Because the body has no way to store oxygen over a
period of a long time, it leads a breath-to-breath
The human body must have oxygen to convert fuel (the
carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in our diet) into heat,
energy, and life. The conversion of body fuels into life
is similar to the process of combustion; fuel and oxygen
is consumed, while heat and energy is generated. This
process is known as "metabolism".
The rate of metabolism, which determines the need for and
consumption of oxygen, depends on the degree of physical
activity or mental stress of the individual. Not all
people require the same amount of oxygen. A man walking
at a brisk pace will consume about four times as much
oxygen as he will while sitting quietly. Under severe
exertion or stress, he could possibly be consuming eight
times as much oxygen as resting.
There are four kinds of oxygen that are merchandised or
sold to users; Aviation, Medical, Welding and Research. There is a
ongoing controversy if there is any difference between
the different types. Oxygen gas is produced from the
boiling off of liquid oxygen. It would appear that the
oxygen is therefore the same. Where we obtain oxygen, all
the different types of oxygen are supplied from the same
manifold system. Then someone says that medical oxygen
has more moisture in it. That is partly true. The oxygen
going to a hospital bed is plain oxygen that comes from
liquid oxygen. At the bed location, there is a unit on
the wall that adds moisture. At this moment we now have
medical oxygen. If the oxygen is in a pressure vessel or
in a manifold system (like inside a hospital) then it is
regular oxygen. The cost of medical or welding oxygen is
normally much less than the oxygen you get at an airport.
Also of interest, we have been told by the suppliers of
welding oxygen, the purity level required for welding and
cutting purposes is more critical than for breathing.
The bottom line about the different types of oxygen is in
the insurance liability of the oxygen supplier. The gas
is the same but the insurance liability is different.
Top | Next