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Q & A: oxygen solubility in water vs. pressure

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Most recent answer: 12/29/2014
Q:
At what depth underwater does air (oxygen) not exist or cannot exist due to the pressure?
- Nathan (age 30s)
San Diego, CA
A:

It sounds as if you may be thinking of bubbles of oxygen gas, not individual molecules of dissolved O2. The solubility of the molecules isn't very strongly dependent on the water pressure. At least up to 4 atm, about 40 m depth, it doesn't seem to care: . I haven't found a source for the solubility at higher pressures.

I haven't been able to find the exact pressure at which Obubbles will collapse to a liquid at at room temperature. From an on-line  pictorial phase diagram it looks to be at a pressure of about 100 atm, or a depth of about 1 km. That pressure is physically reasonable, since it corresponds to the pressure where the O2 gas density starts to get high enough for the molecules to be in a lot of contact.

Mike W.


(published on 12/29/2014)

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