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Author Topic: Would plants on a submarine provide oxygen?  (Read 2110 times)

Offline thedoc

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Would plants on a submarine provide oxygen?
« on: 03/10/2012 07:30:03 »
Zakaria Munsoor  asked the Naked Scientists:
Hello Dr Chris and Redi. Hope you guys are doing fine.

My wife and I are keen listeners of your show (more me) from Saudi Arabia. I'm from Durban and she's from King Williams Town. We working here.

Anyways, I LOVE the show. Listen to it all the time. Recently my wife said : "you've become smart. I think u should listen to the naked scientist more often."



My wife and I were discussing the sinking of the U Boat and possible malfunctions underwater that it would face. For example if the oxygen tanks or air filters stop working. The crew would use up the oxygen in the sub. As a result, more CO2 would become present thus causing the crews' organs to fail as there is no oxygen for brain function. The air would become toxic.

Would the sailors survive if there were a lot of plants in the U boat to absorb the CO2 and replenish the oxygen levels.

Kind regards.
Zakaria and Taskeen
Saudi Arabia

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 03/10/2012 07:30:03 by _system »


Offline chris

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Re: Would plants on a submarine provide oxygen?
« Reply #1 on: 03/10/2012 08:37:18 »
The plants would need light to photosynthesise; if this could be provided, then theoretically, yes, a boat-load of plants could soak up the CO2 and replenish the oxygen levels.

Thank you to Alistair Griffiths, who sent me this paper that answers the question nicely:


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« Reply #2 on: 03/10/2012 10:20:41 »
@NakedScientists Nope, unless you can provide them with the right wavelength of artifical light. Plants in the dark consume O2.

was tweeted by @DJ_de_Koning

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« Reply #2 on: 03/10/2012 10:20:41 »


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