How Oxygen Concentrators Work
Oxygen concentrators work by filtering the air from the environment to provide a high concentration of oxygen for medical use. They utilize a process called adsorption, where air is drawn into the machine and passes through a molecular sieve, a material with tiny pores that trap nitrogen molecules and allow oxygen molecules to pass through. The oxygen-rich air is then delivered to the patient through a nasal cannula or a mask.
The oxygen concentrator has a compressor that compresses air and a pressure swing adsorption (PSA) module that separates oxygen from nitrogen. The PSA module contains a bed of zeolite, a porous mineral that attracts nitrogen molecules and releases oxygen molecules, to increase the concentration of oxygen in the air. The compressor pumps air into the PSA module, where the zeolite adsorbs nitrogen and releases oxygen. The compressed air then moves to a second chamber, where it expands and the nitrogen is expelled. This creates a pressure differential between the two chambers, which forces more air into the first chamber, where the process repeats.
The oxygen-enriched air is then passed through a series of filters to remove any impurities, such as moisture and carbon dioxide, before being delivered to the patient. The oxygen concentrator has a control system that monitors the oxygen concentration and adjusts the flow rate to meet the patient's needs. The machine also has safety features to prevent over-oxygenation and ensure a constant supply of oxygen.