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How do oxygen concentrators work?

Oxygen concentrator is a device that provides supplemental or extra oxygen to people who need extra oxygen supply. Normal blood oxygen level is from 95-100. If your blood oxygen level is below than 93 will be very dangerous which means you have to get extra oxygen supply to keep your blood oxygen level in safe range. So the oxygen concentrator is designed for those kind of usages.


How do oxygen concentrators work?

First of all, let’s check out what is oxygen concentrator made up of. The device usually consists of air filter, a compressor, surge tank, molecular sieve beds, and product tank. Some may include water cup to wet the output flow. Like an oxygen cylinder or tank, a concentrator supplies oxygen to a patient via a mask or nasal tubes. However, unlike oxygen cylinders, concentrator is powered by plugging the device into an electrical outlet or by using a battery and doesn’t require refilling and can provide oxygen 24 hours a day. Most concentrators also come with an adapter so you can use the device while you drive. A typical oxygen concentrator can supply between 5 to 10 liters per minute (LPM) of pure oxygen.


The 5 Step Concentrator Process:

  1. Takes air from outside.
  2. Compresses the air.
  3. Filterout nitrogen from the air.
  4. Adjusts the out put flow.
  5. Delivers the purified air.


There are many parts that make up a oxygen concentrator. A compressor and sieve bed filter are a couple of the main parts. The compressor compresses air that is filtered into the concentrator, then delivers the air in a continuous stream like an engine to car.

  The sieve bed filter plays an important role, as it is the device that removes the nitrogen from the air. The filter called molecular sieve, which is made up from a material called Zeolite. Zeolite is a six-sided microscopic cube with holes on each side, in the sieve bed which is what removes the nitrogen from the air.
After air is first compressed in the concentrator, it goes into the molecular sieve bed and come out with pure oxygen which sent into the product tank. The sieve bed then gets filled up with nitrogen. Next, the gas flow is switched, and the compressed air is moved to the second sieve bed. The first sieve bed’s compressor is sent to the outside space, and the air from the product tank goes back into the first sieve bed.

  The Zeolite in the first sieve bed filter release nitrogen because of the pressure. The Oxygen and Nitrogen come back together and expose to the room as regular air. The air is then compressed and sent to the second sieve where Oxygen is moved through it to the Product Tank. The whole cycle starts over again with the first sieve after a few seconds.
The nasal cannula that delivers the purified oxygen after the oxygen has been passed through all the sieve bed filters. Some device may include with a mask which can help improve oxygen absorption.

An oxygen concentrator receives air, purifies it, and then distributes the newly formed fresh air. Before it goes into the oxygen concentrator, air is made up of around 80 percent nitrogen and 20 percent oxygen. An oxygen concentrator uses that air to produce 90 to 95 percent pure oxygen and 5 to 10 percent nitrogen. In those process, the most important part is molecular sieve beds, it determine the concentration of out put air and the compressor determine how much flow can be output.

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