Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Perfluorocarbon: An Amazing Substance

Perfluorocarbon is a relatively new chemical and liquid that allows liquid ventilation. Liquid ventilation is achieved through the liquid Perfluorocarbon. In 1966 Leland Clark Jr and Frank Gollan discovered that oxygen and carbon dioxide are very soluble in specific silicone oils and fluorocarbon liquids. During experiments with cats and mice, they discovered that these liquids could support the animal's respiration. Strangely, the animals that were removed from the silicone oils died within a few days, while those in the fluorocarbon stayed sober for weeks. The animals showed good arterial oxygenation, but there were problems with the elimination of carbon dioxide.
Studies of liquid ventilation were first performed on premature infants in 1989. The studies showed improvement in the infant's lung compliance and gas exchange, but could not be  persued as there was a lack of technology to make an applicable liquid ventilator system.

  • Partial liquid ventilation would not be possible without the amazing chemical known as Perfluorocarbon. These liquids are clear, colorless, odorless, nonconducting, and nonflammable. They are about twice as dense as water and are capable of dissolving mostly carbon dioxide and oxygen.
  • Basically this substance can hold enough oxygen for someone to be able to breathe while inside it. You can breath safely underwater but sometimes the transition from breathing Perfluorocarbon to air can be painful or uncomfortable as your lungs try to push the liquid or if them.
  • In addition to its medical use, it's also sometimes used as a form of modern torture that is similar to water boarding. The victim is placed in a small completely dark box which is filled with the liquid. The victim thinks they are drowning as they breath in the liquid. Most victims pass out from fear at that point or just sit there in the dark, apparently breathing in "water." This often leads to them concluding that they are, in fact, dead. Then the victim would be pulled from box, said to have be resuscitated or something along those lines and are threatened to be "drowned" again if they don't give up information. This substance provides a way to "drown" someone and be sure they won't be harmed.